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Last update: May 2021

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PhD Defense by Yasmine Salehy: "Knowledge model and design space exploration of sustainable refrigeration systems"

Phd from University Paris Saclay

English summary


The impact of climate change on the refrigeration sector has led to an increase in cooling. Nearly 20% of the global electricity consumption is currently used for cold production, and it is expected to reach 37% by 2050. The main objective of this thesis is to propose an integrated design approach and a design space exploration platform to help decision making in the upstream design phases and move towards more sustainable systems.

First of all, a field diagnosis is carried out to represent and evaluate the development opportunities in the socio-technical system of refrigeration. This diagnosis is based on interviews, a literature review and observations. The Radical Innovation Design (RID) methodology is then used to build a knowledge book and assess development opportunities. The result is that the main shortcomings of the current socio-technical system of refrigeration are: (1) lack of understanding of emerging technologies; (2) poor exploration of the design space; (3) diversity of language and tools between stakeholders resulting in underperforming refrigeration systems.

Thus, it is proposed to move towards a more integrated approach to designing a refrigeration system thanks to a knowledge model and a simulation and design space exploration platform, the latter allowing to arrive at a dimensioned architecture satisfying all stakeholders quickly.

In order to capitalise on the knowledge around the design of refrigeration systems, fifteen experts in the field of refrigeration with different roles in various companies were solicited through interviews, in addition to the literature review and field observations. A knowledge model was then proposed to design and simulate supermarket refrigeration systems. Four concepts are developed in relation to the supermarket usage context, solution structure, system properties, and performance, including physical, energy, environmental, economic, and maintainability models. A platform for simulation and exploration of the design space based on a brute-force enumeration of feasible solutions is proposed and a "design by shopping" exploration mode. Verification of the platform's ability to correctly model the problem, express the designers' preferences, and lead to the choice of a satisfactory dimensioned architecture is carried out through workshops involving actors in the design of refrigeration systems. Final validation of the models is carried out by evaluating eight criteria such as robustness and ease of use and comparing the solutions the designers arrived at with a case from the literature.