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Industry Spotlight Q&A: Jay Johnson from Sandia National Laboratory

Posted by Samantha Bruce on Mar 5, 2018 1:12:58 PM

 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. 

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Topics: Research Laboratories, C-HIL, controller hardware in the loop, DER, Energy

4 questions and answers about resilient energy

Posted by Paul Roege on Dec 15, 2017 10:11:40 AM

What is resilience?

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.

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Topics: Microgrids, Resilience, Energy

The Ship is a Microgrid.

Posted by Matt Baker on Aug 8, 2017 4:48:21 PM

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.

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Topics: Microgrids, C-HIL, controller hardware in the loop, hardware in the loop, HIL, Shipboard Power Systems, Naval Microgrid, Miltary, Navy, Digital Twin

Digitalization of Microgrids and Electrical Distribution Networks

Posted by Nikola Fischer Celanovic on May 15, 2017 1:00:27 PM

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.

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Topics: Microgrids, controller hardware in the loop, Virtual HIL, HIL, DER

6 lessons learned from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Microgrid Symposium that will make your next microgrid project a breeze

Posted by Ivan Celanovic on Mar 3, 2017 3:45:20 PM

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.  

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Topics: Microgrids, controller hardware in the loop, Virtual HIL, HIL, DER

5 grand challenges for Microgrid Controlers that MIT Lincoln Laboratory Microgrid Controller Symposium aims to resolve

Posted by Ivan Celanovic on Feb 10, 2017 3:57:16 PM

This year at the Microgrid & DER Controller Symposium, organized by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Typhoon HIL will be presenting center stage two live Microgrid HIL Testbed demos using the ultra-high fidelity controller Hardware in the Loop (HIL) interfaced with real industrial controllers.

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Topics: Microgrids

Continuous Integration with HIL: fully automate power electronics control software testing

Posted by Ivan Celanovic on Dec 9, 2016 10:45:54 AM

Continuous Integration (CI) is a standard software development practice that requires developers to integrate code into a shared repository at least once a day. Each software commit is then automatically built and tested, allowing developers to detect and fix problems early. By integrating developed code regularly, you can detect errors quickly, and fix them in a timely manner.

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Topics: Smart Inverters

3 reasons why your HIL simulation needs a communication toolbox

Posted by Aleksandar Kavgic on Oct 21, 2016 6:45:08 AM

Modern grids, including emerging microgrids and advanced shipboard power systems, are increasingly about communication and control networks. Through these networks, countless smart power electronics devices and systems – such as solar inverters, wind turbine inverters, battery storage systems, microgrid control systems, etc. – communicate among themselves.


To make things interesting, all these smart devices also speak many different languages, i.e. communication protocols, such as Modbus, IEC 61850 and DNP3, to name just a few. Therefore, a well-integrated communication toolbox is a must have for a thorough Controller Hardware in the Loop (HIL) testing of modern intelligent electron devices (IEDs).


Read on for 3 key reasons why full support for communication protocols is becoming a must in state-of-the-art HIL testing.

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Topics: Microgrids

5 problems Controller HIL solves in Shipboard Power System testing

Posted by Aleksandar Kavgic on Sep 23, 2016 6:10:32 AM

A modern shipboard power system (SPS) is jam-packed with digital control, protection and communication hardware and software. Moreover, in the future, the complexity of control, protection and communication systems is only going to increase as the ships are becoming smarter and more electric.

With all the undisputed benefits of more electric SPS, we are witnessing costly commissioning delays of the most sophisticated vessels due to issues with SPS software. Such problems are to be expected, since the increased complexity of SPS requires the latest generation of testing tools such as Marine Microgrid Testbed (MMT), which is based on the controller hardware in the loop (C-HIL) testing methodology.

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Topics: Microgrids, Shipboard power system

5 ways the Virtual HIL Device will make you a better HIL engineer

Posted by Nikola Fischer Celanovic on Sep 14, 2016 9:33:05 AM

In computing, a virtual machine (VM) is an emulation of a given computer system, while an emulator is a piece of software that enables one computer system (called the host) to run software of another computer system (called the guest).

Virtual HIL Device is no different. It is a software toolbox within a HIL toolchain that enables HIL models to run on a PC instead of on a HIL device. Virtual HIL Device is not a simulator, or a circuit compiler that is supposed to make your simulation run faster. It is a true HIL emulator that runs the same code that runs on the proprietary HIL processor and communicates with the same HIL toolchain with all of its advanced features such as scope, capture, Python API and HIL SCADA. In other words Virtual HIL Device brings signature Typhoon HIL interactivity to a desktop application.

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Topics: Virtual HIL Device

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