Modelica-based system modeling for studying control-related faults in chiller plants and boiler plants serving large office buildings

Sen Huang, Wangda Zuo, Draguna Vrabie, Rong Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Dynamic modelling of the faulty operation of chiller plants and boiler plants can help identify their impacts and support the development of fault detection methods. However, adequate models are seldom reported in the literature. In this study, we aim to develop high-fidelity models for approximating the dynamic behaviors of chiller plants and boiler plants under control-related faults. Specifically, we first designed a typical configuration of the chiller plants and the boiler plants; we then modeled both the physical systems and controllers of these typical plants with Modelica. When developing the Modelica models, we created a hierarchical model structure while modules in each layer can be redeclared and parameterized at upper layers. This model structure facilitates the implementation of fault scenarios through intuitive model modifiers. At last, we applied the proposed models in a comprehensive fault impact evaluation of the thirteen control-related faults of chiller and boiler plants. In this evaluation, the proposed models are coupled with the EnergyPlusTM thermal load model to study the impact of various faulty scenarios. Based on the fault impact evaluation results, we identified the faults that have the most significant impacts on the operation of the chiller and boiler plants, respectively. We also found that the relationship between the impacts of the studied faults and the severity level of the faults can be highly non-linear. This study contributes to the literature by providing the first dynamic models of chiller plants and boiler plants which can be used to study control-related faults on a large-scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102654
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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