RTlab

  UEL and EFRE Logos

New laboratory facilities for the design and assessment of next generation urban energy systems are under construction at RWTH Aachen University within the Urban Energy Lab 4.0 (UEL) project. Within the subproject RTlab, our institute’s laboratory equipment related to research in the field of electrical grids is substantially extended to support the revolutionary simulation & testing paradigm of parallel UEL project InFIS.

Contact

Name

Niklas Eiling

Team Simulation Infrastructure and HPC

Phone

work
+49 241 80 49724

Email

E-Mail

Contact

Name

Robert Uhl

Team Leader Modeling, Simulation and HiL Methods

Phone

work
+49 241 80 49727

Email

E-Mail
 

New laboratory facilities for the design and assessment of next generation urban energy systems are under construction at RWTH Aachen University within the Urban Energy Lab 4.0 (UEL) project. Within the subproject RTlab, our institute’s laboratory equipment related to research in the field of electrical grids is substantially extended to support the revolutionary simulation & testing paradigm of parallel UEL project InFIS.

InFIS enables the interconnection of laboratories and test benches into a unique research infrastructure for the holistic simulation and flexible testing of novel devices and solutions.

More information on InFIS and our institute’s involvement can be found here.

As a first step, due to the increased demand for real-time simulations and Hardware-in-the-Loop setups in research projects, teaching and theses, our existing real-time simulators RTDS and OPAL-RT have been extended:

  • Two RTDS NovaCor systems have been added to the existing RTDS hardware of eight racks.
  • Three new OPAL-RT targets extend our existing OPAL-RT hardware targets.
  • New licenses for the ePHASORsim and HYPERSIM and eFPGASIM have been added to the portfolio of available software tools at the ACS real-time simulation laboratory.
  RTlab real time simulation rack

A key part of the RTlab project focuses on the integration of the newly acquired simulation resources into a common real-time simulation infrastructure. The main component for linking of Real-time simulators is the development of a new FPGA-based fabric which allows researchers to combine the strengths of different simulation platforms available in the laboratory. This integration will enable the usage of our real-time simulation infrastructure in the other UEL projects like InFIS and allows us to provide remote access to the infrastructure for other RWTH researchers. A newly developed monitoring system is used to track simulator usage for reporting purposes and enforces usage quotas as well as checks user reservations of the infrastructure.

Additionally, a heterogeneous computing system, based on special and standard components for the development and assessment of real-time simulators has been developed. The special components consist of modern GPU accelerators and FPGAs, which enable the acceleration of demanding workloads or the use of high-bandwidth, low-latency interconnects. They are coupled with standard components based on a traditional CPU architecture for flexible access to storage- and cloud-infrastructure.

Another goal is the extension of our laboratory’s Power-Hardware-in-the-Loop (PHiL) capabilities, which enables, based on the available real-time simulators RTDS and OPAL-RT, to integrate power-level components in real-time simulations of electrical grids. By using PHiL, interactions between a real component under test (e.g. photovoltaic inverter) and the simulated electrical grid are analyzed reproducibly and without any danger for real grids. For the purpose of realizing low-voltage level (230 Vrms) PHiL setups in the future, the institute’s laboratory is extended by a commercial four-quadrant voltage source, a DC power supply with integrated solar array simulator, a rapid prototyping platform for power electronics as well as measurement devices required for the validation of PHiL setups. As exemplary application, demonstrating the capabilities of the rapid prototyping platform for power electronics, the platform is used to build a custom PHiL power amplifier. Since this amplifier's control algorithms and hardware can be fully accessed and modified, it can be used for research on PHiL power amplifiers and interface algorithms.

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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of OP EFRE.NRW 2014-2020 under promotional reference EFRE-0500029.