RWTH Aachen

The main function of the ACS laboratory infrastructure is to support fast prototyping of control systems and derisk new control architectures for application in power systems. This is achieved through a set of real-time (RT) simulators and hardware interfaces. Considering that our research focus is on complex systems and knowing that simulating different systems and situations may require different hardware and software solutions, it is impossible to choose one single platform for the real-time simulator that fulfills all the requirements. Thus we have designed our own laboratory structure that accounts for all the scenarios of interest and satisfies all our foreseeable needs.

Three different simulation platforms are used in order to support:

a) Real-time simulators for power systems (RTDS and OPAL-RT).

b) Real-time simulation of distributed system, used e.g. for simulation of wind farms and representation of wind field distribution (DSP Cluster).

c) Real-time simulation of multi-physic systems, use e.g. for integrated simulation of electrical and thermal system (PC cluster)

And one power interface platform:

d) Power Hardware In the Loop interface, used for connection of real hardware (up to 25kVA) in the control loop (Flexible Power Simulator FlePS)

Furthermore simulation of communication infrastructure is achieved by a communication network emulator that is based on the open-source software WANem. WANem is a Wide Area Network Emulator that allows for the setup of a transparent application gateway, which can be used to emulate WAN characteristics like time delay, Packet loss, Packet corruption, Disconnections, Packet re-ordering, Jitter, etc.

The RTDS (Real Time Digital Simulator) installation represents a unique facility for our institute, being among the biggest in Europe with 8 racks. To broaden our real-time simulation capabilities, also an installation of an eMEGAsim simulator from OPAL-RT Technologies was added to the lab.

For the real-time simulation of distributed systems, we developed the hardware and software to build a simulator based on a cluster of DSP. The simulator represents a unique facility for the testing of distributed energy systems. The first application will be the RT simulation of large off-shore wind farms. This platform, though, is also suitable for simulating all kinds of distributed generation systems.

For the RT simulation of multi-physic systems, we use a shared memory PC cluster for which we developed a solverfor complex systems that leverages on the computational power of multiprocessor machines.

To support Hardware in the Loop and Power Hardware in the Loop testing, we connect the RT setup to the test equipment, which can be locally in our lab, but also at a different location. For this purpose, considering the great industrial interest on this topic, we designed and built a FlePS (Flexible Power Simulator), the power interface to realize Power Hardware in the Loop, which will be used in our laboratories for testing small apparatuses (less than 25 kW).

  RWTH Aachen  

Further additions to the real-time laboratory include the integration of the following components:

  • Real SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system
  • PMUs (Phasor Measurement Units)
  • AC/DC Microgrid
  • Smart Meters
  • Substation automation equipment (to come soon)

With the integration of the listed components, the lab represents the electrical grid in connection with real hardware based on state-of-the-art and advanced commercial technology.