Smart Grid Laboratory Environment

Applications:
  • Real-time steady-state and dynamic modeling and simulation of electric power systems
  • Implementation of new protection algorithms, power electronic components and filters
  • Integration of innovative ICT for a real-time smart grid operation and management

GridLab: Power Hardware-in-the-Loop test rig

The GridLab is a jointly operated laboratory by the Institute for Mechatronics in Mechanics (iMEK) and the Institute of Electrical Power and Energy Technology (ieet). Its extensive equipment allow the testing of both developed hardware components and control strategies for grid components.

The GridLab features a low-voltage grid with various linear and non-linear loads, a transmission line model and a photovoltaic (PV) simulator. In addition a three-phase battery inverter Sunny Island from SMA is available, which can be operated in grid-forming and grid-supporting mode. The inverters and loads are monitored and controlled in real-time by the use of programmable logic controllers (PLC). These PLCs are also used to record and visualize measurement values.

The existing low-voltage grid can be connected with a real-time grid simulator (OPAL-RT OP5600). Thus it is possible to simulate any grid configurations and conditions and to feed them into the grid as currents and voltages in low-voltage range by the use of power amplifiers. The reaction of the hardware in the grid is captured by high-resolution measuring sensors and transmitted via an optical link to the simulation, which enables a closed loop. The concept of coupling real-time simulation and hardware through power amplifiers is known as Power Hardware-in-the-Loop (PHIL).
Three single phase linear power amplifiers APS7500 by Spitzenberger & Spies are used, which provide 7,5kW continuous output per phase. Designed as single phase systems, both symmetrical and asymmetrical level of supplies can be generated. The optical link used for data transfer with the real-time simulator features a 2GB/s transmission rate, thus representing the newest standard in the area of PHIL.

By coupling real hardware and real-time capable simulations and control systems almost any operating and grid conditions can be mapped and developed hardware and software can be tested under various situations. PHIL extends the capabilities of a classical laboratory by investigations which would otherwise require field tests.