Typhoon HIL Blog

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

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

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

Controller Hardware in the Loop Enhanced Learning in the Era of the Smart Grid

Posted by Nikola Fischer Celanovic on May 3, 2016 2:05:23 PM


Digital control and communication are playing an ever more important role in the field of power electronics and power system. C-HIL (Controller Hardware In the Loop) technology can strongly support this technological evolution  when applied in the learning process at undergraduate and graduate level.

Moreover it makes power engineering more hands on and interactive as well as accessible to undergraduate students because there are no dangers, costs and tight supervision requirements of the power laboratory.

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Topics: Research Laboratories, Microgrids

4 Principles of Good Hardware in the Loop Design.

Posted by Ivan Celanovic on Apr 18, 2016 2:21:13 PM

Last year at the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC2016) I ran into a good friend of mine that I haven’t seen since the graduate school. He is now an accomplished R&D engineer in one of the leading power electronics companies.

After the initial conversation, trying to catch up on each other’s personal and professional accomplishments, we started to discuss the power electronics industry. I was eager to share my wisdom about Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulation and how it is radically changing the face of the (earth) power electronics and power systems. Frost and Sullivan Market Report.



I was shocked to see his face cringe in an utter disgust before I could even finish my spiel. He promptly fired back at me: “I’ve tried to use a HIL system and apart from the fact that it took me months to learn all the software tools needed to get it to run, the simulated waveforms were not even close to what I was expecting. I was continuously running into numerical stability issues and it took hours to prepare/compile models for simulation. Honestly, I never even got to the task of automating controller testing because I ran out of time and patience.” Before I was able to calm him down, he swore that he will never again use HIL simulation in his life.

I took it personally, since I am a big believer in HIL testing and tend to elevate HIL systems right next to the oscilloscope and power supply when it comes to the essential power electronics controls engineer toolbox For me it was rather troubling my friend had such a strong negative emotion for a development and testing method based on one system experience.

Understandably, his feedback was fueled by his deep frustration with what amounts to bad product design. However, just because a particular product is poorly designed does not mean that the overall method or application is wrong. If my brand new car consistently breaks down the first couple years I have it, I’m going to buy another car, but it’s definitely the last time I buy from that manufacturer.

Motivated on one side by examples of bad HIL design, and on the other side inspired by one of the greatest industrial designers of all time Dieter Rahms and his 10 principles of good design, I had to define what I would like to call 4 Principles of Good Hardware-in-the-Loop Design.

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Topics: Smart Inverters, Microgrids

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