Virtual System Integration

Fast track to grid digitalization

The new grid is all about software

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Grid is becoming dynamic. Distributed generation, microgrids with distributed storage, the growing infrastructure of chargers are transforming the network and challenging grid resilience.

Software-controlled power electronics converters are driving the change.

Complexity drives the need for new tools and methods.

System integration environment of the next generation

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Scalable and vertically integrated, optimized for performance, designed for test-driven development support and in-house pre-commissioning.

Testing supervisory control

Testing supervisory control requires a focus on communication. Ideally, testing communication can be done in a completely virtualized environment with simulated DERs with products specific communication registry maps.

Testing interoperability

Once ready to be deployed in a particular project, brownfield or greenfield, we need capability to extend our test environment with product grade HIL Compatible editions of DER controllers, with original control firmware and software versions.

Testing protection

Finally, as a final test, we can add a protection layer to our Virtual System Integration testbed together with high accuracy signal amplifiers (not power amplifiers) and run multiple operational scenarios, especially faulty scenarios, and bulletproof our entire microgrid, before spending a single hour in the field.

Time resolution requirements

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Although supervisory control is typically not as dynamic as low-level controllers are, to test multilevel control hierarchies we have in today’s microgrids and distributed power systems we have to be able to communicate (and test) the most sophisticated and technically demanding components in a system. Ideally, our test environment would be able to cover a wide spectrum of time resolutions.

A new way of testing

power automation

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Digital power is more than “plug and play”.

Testing converter control software is challenging by itself. Furthermore, combining multiple DER controllers from various vendors in a single system opens the door to unpredictable interoperability issues and challenges in validating even technically simple tasks as communication.

Interoperability challenge

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Even in today’s marine power systems system dynamics are driven by power electronics converters, and as such require dynamic analysis:

  • Component interoperability
  • Load shedding
  • Pulse loads
  • Un-/Intentional islanding
  • Black start/Brown start
  • Fault analysis

Lessons learned at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories Microgrid control symposium

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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.)

4 Ways Controller Hardware in the Loop and Model-Based Engineering are Reducing Risk

 

Read about how Controller Hardware in the Loop (C-HIL) and model-based engineering can reduce the risk during design, deployment and operation of your microgrid on  our blog