HIL Microgrid Testbed

Controller Hardware in the Loop testing of Microgrid Control Systems

Solar and wind power generation, as well as battery storage, are all part of today’s microgrids. Together with protective relays, communication networks and microgrid controllers they are complex power systems that need thorough testing and verification before their safe and reliable operation can be guaranteed in all operating conditions.

Distribution grids are undergoing rapid transformation that is fueled by introduction of intermittent and distributed power sources and by extensive application of information and communication technologies.

Such transformation brings opportunities to make the distribution grid more resilient and more flexible. At the same time, it needs advanced testing tools to ensure the acceptable cost of quality.



What is a HIL Microgrid Testbed?


A Microgrid Testbed is a collection of HIL devices with integrated protection relays, microgrid controllers and controllers of solar inverters, battery inverters, diesel gensets, fuel cells, etc.

The main purpose of the Microgrid Testbed is to comprehensively test and validate primary and secondary control, communications and protection under all operating conditions including faults in both the islanded and grid-tied mode.

Moreover, Microgrid Testbed can perform all its tests and generate its test reports in the fully automatic mode, thus boosting the productivity and improving test coverage even further.


How does the C-HIL Microgrid Testbed work?


HIL Microgrid Testbed has an identical control system as a real microgrid, only the power hardware is digitized within the HIL devices.

High fidelity models of DER and distribution system hardware, comprising smart inverter hardware, PV panels, batteries, transformers, generators, switches, cables, active and passive loads etc. are simulated on ultra-low latency Microgrid testbed with time steps as low as 500ns.

Smart inverter controllers control the operation of smart inverter models, while relays control the protective switches and microgrid controllers provide the overall supervisory control.

A new benchmark in protection testing


HIL Microgrid Testbed allows you to connect and communicate with your actual hardware relays.
With Typhoon HIL API and Python scripts, you can fully automate testing against short circuits, phase losses, overvoltage’s, low and over voltage ride troughs and component failures.

Furthermore, HIL Microgrid Testbed allows you to conduct a sensitivity analysis of the whole network in real-time. With protection relays and all control components being real, and with the unparalleled accuracy of Typhoon HIL’s industry-proven advanced numerical modelling algorithms, you can validate microgrid models in the early stage of development.

Multi-rate execution


HIL building blocks in your HIL Microgrid Testbed can be configured independently and on-the-fly.

Each HIL604 building block in your HIL Microgrid Testbed can be configured independently of the others and each HIL building block can be assigned a specific part of the circuit. Every HIL604 can perform either as a 1μs resolution ultra-high-fidelity simulator for the highly dynamic parts of your network or as a 10μs time-step simulator for the less dynamic parts of it.

This allows you to customize and optimize your simulation any way you like and make the best use of the processing power available in your HIL Microgrid Testbed.

Scalability: power in the numbers


The modular Microgrid Testbed allows your microgrid model to grow in size. Simply daisy-chain HIL simulators and run them in parallel when you need to model large microgrids.

Whether you need to model a single customer microgrid, a partial feeder microgrid, a full feeder microgrid or even a full substation microgrid, you can rely on the Typhoon HIL Microgrid Testbed to get the job done.

Supporting all major communication protocols


Integrating different protocols allows you to easily optimize your microgrid control software algorithms for integration with the existing substation communication protocols.

Given that each HIL simulator in the Microgrid Testbed can interface with a number of different hardware controllers and given its communication capabilities, Typhoon HIL Microgrid Testbed can also be used as a backend for other forms of testing.

For example, your Microgrid Testbed can be the bedrock for smart grid security testing in real-life conditions where different controllers interact with the grid as they are subject to testing of penetration impact on the operation of an entire microgrid, relevant substations or even the grid as a whole.

Lessons learned at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories Microgrid control symposium


At 2017 Microgrid & DER Controller Symposium, the real, unadulterated industrial microgrid controllers from Eaton, General Electric, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and Schneider Electric were in the spotlight.

Controllers were operating an 80-bus network with all the interoperability challenges we get connecting a diesel generator, CHP, grid-scale battery storage and PV inverters together with numerous loads. The entire network was emulated with a Typhoon HIL Microgrid Testbed with physical controllers and of-the-shell firmware, giving all present a microscopic view on how high-level control deals with the spectrum of disturbances and Distribution Management System (DMS) requests to the microgrid controller (e.g. to export active/reactive power, to island, etc.)