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The realization of new laboratory facilities for design and assessment of next generation urban energy systems is on the way at RWTH Aachen University within the Urban Energy Lab 4.0 project. The InFIS, a subproject of Urban Enegy Lab 4.0 will enable the interconnection of laboratories into a unique research infrastructure for the holistic simulation and flexible testing of novel devices and solutions. The virtually interconnected research infrastructure comprises a real-time simulation environment, test bench for PV-Battery systems, wind turbine nacelle test bench (CWD), test bench for heat pumps (HELENA), user comfort and user behavior testing environment (Raumklimalabor) and test bed for building components (FlexFass).


The core interconnecting solution is VILLASframework, a modular framework developed in-house for virtual interconnection of laboratories. Within InFIS, ACS will extend VILLASframework with new interfaces and services for the infrastructure, in particular:

  • hard real-time interfaces for the interconnection of Digital Real-Time Simulators and Power Hardware-In-the-Loop (PHIL) setups, realized via custom new hard real-time capable fiber communication network, which interconnects several FPGA-based mobile units located at the laboratory test benches. This realizes a test bench for a PV-Battery system, wind turbine nacelle test benches and general electrical grid simulation of resources geographically dispersed across the RWTH campus.
  • soft real-time interfaces for interconnection of HELENA, Raumklimalabor and FlexFass to an electrical grid simulation will be developed for the establishment of interdisciplinary research infrastructure.
  • upgrade of VILLASweb, the web interface of VILLASframework, to allow a user to fully leverage the interconnected infrastructure in a friendly environment. InFIS will provide services for planning, preparation, execution and analysis of distributed experiments with a particular focus on simulation data management for comprehensive post-processing and analysis of simulation and testing results.

To enable testing of real devices, such as PV inverters, a portable grid emulator will be developed by the partner institute PGS at the E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH.
For stability and fidelity of the simulation in PHIL setups, ACS will identify the main sources of fidelity degradation and will develop methods and interface algorithms for their compensation.
In addition, the mobile unit will enhance the grid emulator to provide a flexible interface for the devices to the interconnected research infrastructure.
The distributed PHiL set-up with developed interfaces will be tested on defined use cases.

  InFIS Organisation

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




The first ​Urban Energy Lab Symposium took place at E.ON Energy Research Center.
Representatives of industry and research exchanged about future urban energy systems through presentations and discussions.



Niklas Eiling

Project Development Team – Information and Communication Technology Topics / Team Leader Simulation Infrastructure and HPC


+49 241 80-49724