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

At the Microgrid & DER Controller Symposium 2017, 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

CI icon v2.pngContinuous 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

Virtual HIL Device

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

7 smart inverter tests you should get ready for

Posted by Ivan Celanovic on Sep 8, 2016 12:00:25 PM


Interconnecting distributed energy resources (DER) to the grid, in the United States, requires compliance with a number of standards/grid codes, where three main ones are:

  1. National Electrical Code (NEC),
  2. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 1741, and
  3. IEEE 1547.

Since the existing versions of UL 1741 and IEEE 1547 (IEEE 1547-2003) were written prior to the development of smart inverters they were being revised in the end of 2016 to cover new grid support, utility-interactive inverters and converters. Revisions of UL1741 and IEEE 1547 came from California. Indeed, in early 2013 regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Energy Commission (CEC) jointly convened the Smart Inverter Working Group (SIWG).

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Topics: Research Laboratories, Smart Inverters, inverter controller

4 reasons HIL adoption in power electronics and microgrids is soaring

Posted by Ivan Celanovic on Jul 26, 2016 10:00:00 AM


Hardware in the loop (HIL) is not a new technology.  It has been around for twenty-five plus years, and it has been almost exclusively used in the automotive and aerospace industries for test and validation of controller performance and system integration.  Although HIL has been synonymous with automotive testing; this is changing.

In 2015, three independent market research companies published three “State of the HIL” reports.  All three reports state that after decades of evolutionary HIL developments, there is a new application – HIL for power electronics and power systems. 

Although the HIL market for power electronics, microgrids, and power systems is still smaller than either automotive or aerospace, it is the fastest growing segment.  The power electronics and microgrid pull is tremendous. Here are a few excerpts from VDC, Markets and Markets, and Frost and Sullivan reports.

VDC Research

HIL tool spending will grow most rapidly in the energy/power industry….

….HIL adoption is accelerating outside of the legacy user base (automotive and aerospace/defense).  The rapid expansion of HIL use in several industries including energy/power is helping drive revenue growth.

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Topics: Smart Inverters, Microgrids

Simplify Microgrid Control Design, Testing, and Commissioning

Posted by Ivan Celanovic on Jun 21, 2016 10:20:30 AM


Microgrids have been around for as long as the electric generator. Indeed, before we built a highly centralized grid, electricity was generated, distributed, and used in small microgrids.

And interestingly enough, these very first microgrids were DC microgrids.

They were built by Thomas Edison in New York City, prior to Tesla’s introduction of multiphase alternating currents (AC) that changed the electricity generation, distribution, and consumption for good.

Today’s microgrids are very different. They are driven by our society’s quest for sustainable and renewable power generation, the need for a more flexible, versatile, and resilient power system, and the ability to effectively control power flow with power electronics converters.

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Topics: Microgrids

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