“The Controller Hardware-in-the-Loop is a very important and required step before actual validation or implementation because we can take care of all the corner cases.”
At the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center at North Carolina State University, U.S. universities and industry partners focus on modernizing the electric grid using advanced power electronics.
As one of the founding faculty members at FREEDM System Center, Dr. Subhashish Bhattacharya’s research focuses on power electronics and power systems including DC Microgrids.
Dr. Bhattacharya discusses how Controller Hardware-in-the-Loop (C-HIL) reduced the cycle time of design, validation and testing of DC Microgrid controllers from academia to industry.
Frequency regulation is currently provided by large individual resources, such as coal plants and gas turbines. There are growing interests of utilizing power flexibility of DERs in microgrids for providing frequency regulation. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) funded by ARPA-E, have developed a control framework for a microgrid that coordinates DERs for frequency regulation.
Using Typhoon's Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation platform, EPC power was able to integrate their control software with new hardware in two days.
EPC Power designs and manufactures power electronics converters for OEMs and System Integrators. Based in San Diego, CA, EPC Power specializes in inverter design with power ranging from several kilowatts to megawatts.
Ryan Smith, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and chief controls architect, talks about his experience using Controller Hardware in the Loop (C-HIL) from the early conceptual stage, to final product certification and lifecycle maintenance.
Today, most microgrids are controlled in a centralized fashion with standard master slave architecture. There is a central controller, which is the supervisory controller and is connected via point-to-point connection to every DER in the microgrid.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) funded by ARPA-E, have developed a completely distributed controller architecture. Instead of a central controller, multiple micro controllers or nodes communicate with its neighbors towards a consensus. Olaolu Ajala, a PhD student in power and energy systems at UIUC, shows how this distributed controller architecture works using a Hardware-in-the-Loop microgrid testbed.
Sandia National Laboratories is the largest U.S. Department of Energy national lab with over 12,000 employees. It has a major role in supporting inverter development and testing protocols for standards organizations and distributed energy research (DER) vendors.
Jay Johnson, a principal member of technical Staff at Sandia, leads several renewable energy research projects such as DER interoperability testing in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
He talks about his current research, “Design and Evaluation of SunSpec-Compliant Smart Grid Controller,” and why Controller Hardware-in-the-Loop (CHIL) is a novel approach.
Resilience is a new way of dealing with the unknown. Modern society has come to believe that we can rise above risk by using historical data and design analyses to quantify probabilities and consequences, and calculating an acceptable gamble on targeted risk mitigation measures. Resilience basically is our capacity to survive and thrive in the face of change and uncertainty – accepting the fact that we cannot always predict the future. Resilience thinking challenges us to overcome limitations of traditional risk management methods by focusing on the outcomes that are important to us, such as health and welfare. An important difference is that we must come up with ways to enable our systems, communities, and businesses to deal with changing conditions or things that we might not have known in advance without falling apart - not only by protecting them from change, but by cultivating flexibility and a propensity to learn and adapt to changing conditions.
The ship is a microgrid with interconnected loads (propulsion, C4ISR, propulsion and auxiliary) and distributed energy resources (power generation, distribution and energy storage) acting as a controllable entity. This is not a new concept. However, it is one that is taking on far greater significance with the increasing electrification and computerized control of naval and merchant marine ships.
Distribution grids of the future will be much more dynamic than they are today. The key drivers for this are the decentralized generation largely driven by exponential technology adoption of intermittent renewable sources like solar and wind, battery storage, as well as highly dynamic power electronics converters, and smart relays. Additionally, the resilience considerations against cyber-attacks and natural events call for a more decentralized control architecture, i.e. cellular design of the distribution grids-one in which parts of the grid can both operate as independent islands and control their own voltage and frequency, as well as operate as integral part of the large grid.
This year at the Microgrid & DER Controller Symposium, the brainchild of Erik Limpaecher from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the ultra-high fidelity controller Hardware in the Loop (HIL) was in the spotlight, and it was glowing. It won the hearts and minds of all power engineers present.
At the workshop center stage, the real, unadulterated industrial microgrid controllers—from Eaton, GE, SEL, and Schneider—were in action. They were directly interfaced and controlling the Microgrid Controller HIL Testbed running real-time simulation comprising 3 feeders with 24 busses, one diesel generator, one natural gas generator with combined heat an power, battery storage, PV inverter, and numerous loads.