Typhoon HIL Blog


Success Story: Hitachi ABB Pushes Limits of Testing e-mesh Controls with Typhoon HIL solutions

Posted by Samantha Bruce and Debora Santo on Mar 25, 2021 3:28:05 PM

Hitachi ABB e-mesh Controller Hardware in the Loop

Story Summary


  • The e-mesh Control is designed for the seamless integration of renewables with traditional energy assets.
  • Challenge: Ensuring that multiple e-mesh controls communicate in a coordinated way.
  • Solution: Typhoon controller Hardware-in-the-Loop used to design and test e-mesh controls
  • Result: Typhoon HIL accelerated e-mesh control development time and increased test coverage.
  • HIL Tested means flexibility, reliability, optimized, and great performance.

 

About Hitachi ABB Power Grid

 

Hitachi ABB Power Grids is a pioneering technology leader in advanced automation systems and digital energy solutions for utilities, industry sectors, mobility, IT, cities, and remote communities. Its e-mesh portfolio is a vertically integrated solution which manages and optimizes distributed energy resources (DERs) from the device-level to systems control and IoT services.

 

We are developing a solution that is addressing microgrids, energy storage, and automation and control of distributed energy resources.


Luca Cicognani,

Strategic Partnerships Manager, Grid Edge Solutions at Hitachi ABB

 

 

The e-mesh Control solution is based on Hitachi ABB Power Grids' robust, modular, and scalable remote terminal unit (RTU) platform. It is designed to manage the seamless integration of renewable energy assets with traditional energy assets in a complex system environment.

 

The Grid Edge Solutions team at Hitachi ABB used Typhoon HIL controller Hardware-in-the-Loop (C-HIL) to design and test their e-mesh Control solutions and push the limits of testing to provide their customers with a reliable, stable, and cost-effective energy solution.

 

 

 

Challenge: Making sure all controllable assets in a microgrid work in a coordinated way.

 

A key challenge for the Grid Edge Solutions team was to make sure all controllable assets in the microgrid work in a coordinated way. They needed to interface a lot of controllers in a complex system environment and develop those controllers in a cost-efficient and effective way.

 

 

1. Communication Plays a Key Role

 

Hitachi ABB e-mesh is a vertically integrated system with different layers of control integrated in one solution. There are multiple controllers to manage and optimize microgrid distributed generation – solar PV, wind, battery energy storage systems – traditional assets and loads.

 

 

e-mesh RTU unit

 

In a distributed controls approach, the e-mesh Controllers need to communicate with each other and the e-mesh SCADA interface. This implies a high number of signals that are transmitted and received among devices in the field. So, the team needed a system to test the communication protocols (i.e. Can Bus, IEC 61850, DNP3, OPC, Modbus) of the various microgrid controllers.

 

 

In a distributed approach, communication plays a key role because we have different controllers.


Michele Fusero

Senior R&D Engineer, Grid Edge Solutions at Hitachi ABB

 

 

 

 

2. Software-in-the-Loop (SIL)

 

Software-in-the-Loop (SIL) simulation was used to develop control algorithms. SIL supports testing basic control logics but not all the layers related to hardware. While SIL provides a low-cost and safe environment for initial development, the more general models are not sufficient for detecting and mitigating many of the risks that can occur later in development.

 

To ensure the entire system works, a higher fidelity testing environment is needed to test all layers related to hardware, including the communication layer.

 

Drives-Webpage_Hardware-in-Loop-Chapter-3_a

 

 

3. On-site and Power Lab Testing

 

After SIL simulation, the team would usually test on-site or in power labs. There are many test scenarios that would be very difficult or dangerous to test on-site or in a high-power lab environment. These include component failures, fault scenarios and transient events such as the sudden loss of a generating unit (PV) or disconnection from the utility grid.

 

 

We used to do testing on-site. But normally that implies a limited timeframe to run our tests and limited number of test cases that can be executed.


Michele Fusero

Senior R&D Engineer, Grid Edge Solutions at Hitachi ABB

 

 

 

These scenarios are difficult to test in real life because the tests are dependent on the weather – cloudy days without much sun or extreme weather resulting in blackouts or power outages. Microgrid application engineers would need to wait for days or weeks to get exact weather conditions.

Testing controller behavior during a grid disconnection event on-site to verify the transition from grid-connected to islanded mode can also be dangerous because it can disturb loads and users connected to the grid.

 

 

Solution: Typhoon HIL Controller Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation

 

While SIL is a basic development tool, the Hitachi ABB Grid Edge Solutions team needed a high-fidelity testing environment to ensure all the controllable assets in the microgrid work in a coordinated way.

 

Controller Hardware-in-the-Loop (C-HIL) is a combination of real controller hardware interfaced with a real-time high-fidelity model of the power system. The goal is to show the real performance of the actual controller in a realistic simulation environment that responds in real-time.

 

CHIL Testbed Engineer

 

C-HIL is a digital twin or an exact copy of the power system and easy to access in a lab. This makes it easy to catch unexpected control issues before deployment, reducing project risk.

 

 

The controller Hardware-in-the-Loop is an excellent tool because we can show the real performance of our controllers.


Tilo Buehler

Global Product Manager, Grid Edge Solutions at Hitachi ABB

 

 

 

For Hitachi ABB Grid Edge Solutions team, C-HIL pushes the limits of testing, saves time, and enables continuous e-mesh Control development and maintenance.

 

 

CHIL Setup

 

 

1. C-HIL pushes the limits of testing

 

For Hitachi ABB, a C-HIL platform allows comprehensive test coverage of e-mesh Controls before deploying on-site.

C-HIL technology pushes the limits of testing because of the flexibility to simulate various test scenarios that would be difficult to test in real life. Instead of waiting for days or weeks for the weather to change or battery energy storage systems (BESS) to charge, the team can just press a button to simulate these conditions and get results in minutes.

 

 

We can get good test coverage of the system behavior and thereby have good confidence that the control solution we developed will work in a real plant scenario.


Tilo Buehler

Global Product Manager, Grid Edge Solutions at Hitachi ABB

 

 

Example test scenarios with C-HIL:

  • Loss of generated power from PV Plant​
  • Overcharging the BESS
  • Disconnection from the utility grid​
  • Transition from grid-connected to islanded mode​
  • Failure at the PCC to the grid

 

 

2. C-HIL Saves Development Time

 

C-HIL saves development time by reducing the amount of time for planning test activities, finding availability of test labs, and setting up a test environment for various operational and fault scenarios.

 

Moreover, standard models already available in the Typhoon HIL microgrid library makes setting up microgrid models fast and simple. This reduces the time needed for the development of the schematics, while allowing the team to focus on testing the communications.

 

 

The flexibility to adapt these microgrid models easily to have the required connection to our controllers allowed us to save four to five months in the development.


Michele Fusero

Senior R&D Engineer, Grid Edge Solutions at Hitachi ABB

 

 

 

It is easy to adapt the microgrid models to work with the real controller. There is no need to modify the controller to work with the simulator.

The standard microgrid models are optimized to run in real-time and already set up to provide measurements and receive commands from the actual controllers. C-HIL is simply a plug and play approach.

 

CHIL Test Scenario

 

3. C-HIL enables Continuous Development

 

For the Grid Edge Solutions team, C-HIL enables continuous development and maintenance throughout the entire product lifecycle.

C-HIL became an integral part of their toolchain from the early stages of control development through the later stages of customer engagement with factory acceptance testing. They can use it to quickly test out a new idea or troubleshoot problems in the field.

 

 

We can use the Typhoon HIL simulator to provide models for customers especially during their factory acceptance tests.


Michele Fusero

Senior R&D Engineer, Grid Edge Solutions at Hitachi ABB

 

 

They can also use it for factory acceptance testing to demonstrate that the product performs according to customer expectations. C-HIL can be used to model the power system since not all of the system environment can be built in a factory acceptance testing.

 

Results: Hitachi ABB pushed the limits of testing and saved 5 months development time with C-HIL

 

The Grid Edge Solutions team at Hitachi ABB increased test coverage for their e-mesh Controls and saved up to 5 months in development time. Typhoon controller Hardware-in-the-Loop technology enabled quick set up of microgrid models and repeatable testing of all operational and fault scenarios. 

 

CHIL also enabled continuous testing throughout all stages of the product's lifecycle, form early development to later stages though customer engagement with factory acceptance testing. This provides their customers with a reliable, stable, and cost-effective energy solution.

 

For the Hitachi ABB Grid Edge Solutions team, HIL Tested means: flexibility, reliability, optimized, and great performance.

 


Request Contact from RepresentativeWebinar: Microgrid Control in C-HIL  for a Full Digital Twin

Topics: Microgrids, C-HIL, controller hardware in the loop, hardware in the loop, Digital Twin, advanced smart grid converters, model microgrids, microgrid hardware in the loop, microgrid testbed, power systems

Recent Posts

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Subscribe to our channel

Share this page