“If we didn't have this, we'd be stuck using a platform that we couldn't change and therefore optimize. It really helps with confidence.
-Solon Mardapittas, CTO of Powerstar
For this next spotlight, we got a chance to speak with Powerstar’s CTO, Solon Mardapittas, on developing Powerstar’s intelligent energy management system (EMS) with real-time Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) technology.
Based in the UK, Powerstar’s integrated energy system combines its voltage optimization technology with energy storage solution. This not only secures power but lowers energy costs and provides demand side response services to the grid.
Here is the insightful interview with Solon Mardapittas on Powerstar’s rigorous quality assurance process for its leading-edge technology:
For this next spotlight, we got a chance to travel on-site and meet the brilliant team behind Schneider Electric’s active harmonic filters division in the quiet town of Salem, Oregon. This division develops solutions for active harmonic filtering in industrial installations.
Nicolas LaRue, global offer manager for Schneider Electric’s AccuSine products, talks about how Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) technology gives his customers peace of mind.
For the uninitiated, HIL is a model-based design and testing tool that simulates power electronics and power systems in real-time at ultra-high fidelity. It tests the actual controller which is directly interfaced with the model-based simulation.
We also got to speak with Nanda Marwali, engineering manager, and John Batch, firmware engineer, on how Schneider used HIL to push the limits of their controller throughout the entire product lifecycle.
As Europe’s premiere research and technology organization, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), bridges the gap between industry and research by utilizing innovative solutions to key infrastructure issues.
Zoran Miletic, Senior Research Engineer and Power Electronics Design specialist at AIT, talks about how AIT developed its powerful pre-certification toolbox to design and test smart grid converters for grid code compliance using controller Hardware-in-the-Loop (C-HIL) technology.
“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 is growing interest for utilizing power flexibility of DERs in microgrids for providing frequency regulation. Researchers, funded by ARPA-E, from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have developed a control framework for a microgrid that coordinates DERs for frequency regulation.
Using a Controller Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation platform, EPC Power was able to integrate their control software with new hardware in just two days.
Based in San Diego, CA, EPC Power designs and manufactures grid forming bi-directional inverters and DCDC converters for solar, wind, energy storage, automotive and microgrid applications.
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 in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
He talks about his research paper, “Design and Evaluation of SunSpec-Compliant Smart Grid Controller,” and why Controller Hardware-in-the-Loop (CHIL) is a novel approach.