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Jacques de Chalendar Discusses Optimizing Stanford’s Energy System

Nov 8 2018

Jacques de Chalendar sparked spirited conversation at the Bits & Watts Community Forum on November 8 by describing his research into optimizing Stanford University’s Central Energy Facility. Chalendar, a PhD student in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering, summarized the unique demands of providing power, heating and cooling to Stanford, one of the most innovative university campuses in the world and equivalent to a city of population 30,000.

As dusk fell, the Y2E2 Terrace offered a view of the university’s two quads, which comprise 30 of the 200 buildings on campus serviced by the Central Energy Facility (CEF). Chalendar explained how the facility uses large-scale electric heat pumps to produce heating and cooling for the campus district energy network, that can be stored in insulated steel tanks for later use. Chalendar and his advisors developed planning and controls software to explore how the CEF can reduce costs, control the campus carbon footprint and provide energy services to the power grid while simultaneously meeting the campus energy needs. With the help of the engineers and operators at the CEF, Chalendar also recently led a megawatt-scale experiment to participate in Pacific Gas & Electric’s Capacity Bidding Program and test the campus’s demand response capabilities.

Jacques de Chalendar speaking in front of audience

Chalendar’s enthusiasm was contagious to the gathering of students, faculty, and staff, as well as visitors from the Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute of North America (GEIRINA). “I love my work,” Chalendar remarked, “so it’s easy to talk about it.” His audience responded with a lively Q&A. The idea of carbon-aware scheduling, or tailoring the campus energy consumption use to better accommodate the availability patterns of renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic, drew particular interest from the crowd.

Further information on Chalendar’s research is available at

The Bits & Watts Community Forum is builds a community of Stanford students, faculty, and researchers doing work on the future electric grid. Engineers, lawyers, policy experts, economists, and psychologists alike are invited to participate. The gathering provides a regular opportunity for the Stanford research and industry communities to network and discuss the latest ideas and news about grid research and innovations. The Community Forum takes place on Thursdays during Stanford term time.

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