Developing an HIL Microgrid Research and Development Platform

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"By combining the benefits of the NI PXI, CompactRIO, FPGA, and processor, we developed a rugged and specialized educational system that trains students and introduces them to HIL microgrid systems."

- Ashot Minasyan, Bitlis-MEN LLC

The Challenge:
Designing a laboratory facility that is a model of a real hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) microgrid system with a local active-adaptive network, so the operator/student can understand a state-of-the-art microgrid system in a user-friendly, safe, and easy-to-use office environment.

The Solution:
Creating the HIL MicroGrid research and development platform with a microgrid emulation system; network component (generation and consumption) emulation systems; real-time alarm and events handling; historical trending; SCADA monitoring and control systems; a CompactRIO-based power quality and events detection system with power analysis functionality; settings configuration; and live single-line diagrams.

Author(s):
Ashot Minasyan - Find this author in the NI Developer Community

Bitlis-MEN LLC, an NI Silver Alliance Partner, offers safe and simple engineering solutions for automating customers’ systems. We can provide customers with ease of operation, and they can see and manage their businesses anytime and anywhere—from home, the office, or even while travelling. Our experience, competence, and the innovations and advanced technologies we use help us meet the needs of our clients all over the world. We can also provide a partial automation of the system, namely the automation of the assemblies and units.

System Design

The emulation of our MicroGrid is implemented in hardware (the network emulation system or NES) using the NI PXI platform. The emulation of network components (generation, consumption) is implemented in the hardware (the component emulation system or CES) also using the NI PXI platform. The automatic monitoring and control (remote terminal unit or RTU) systems are implemented in the hardware using the CompactRIO platform.

Our system includes a main communication server (MCS), which includes real-time and historical databases, and a communication gateway.

The NES includes the emulation of the network (MicroGrid).

Operator workstations 1 and 2 (OWS1, OWS2) feature SCADA monitoring and control, basic power quality monitoring, and a basic configuration of settings.

CESs 1–4 include the emulation of network components (generation, consumption).

MicroGrid system software enables live single-line diagrams, real-time monitoring, historical trending, control, alarms and events, authentication, and settings.

Advanced Experiments

  • Data acquisition/generation inside an FPGA
  • Power analysis inside operating system
  • Communication between an RTU and a SCADA system
    • DNP3
    • Network streaming
    • Watchdog
    • User-defined
  • Custom controls and data binding
  • Expansion of the existing models

System Features and Benefits

  • The educational system is a copy of the real MicroGrid system.
  • The automatic monitoring and control units (RTUs) of substations are implemented on the CompactRIO platform.
  • The specialized control software is implemented in LabVIEW system design software.
  • The software visualizes the virtual operating diagrams (single-line diagram) of the substations. It allows interactive monitoring and control over any existing apparatus.
  • The system allows the hardware to simulate real emergency situations without any real risks for the operator/student.
  • The operator/student can learn how to work with a real microgrid system.
  • The operator/student can add/modify different parts of the system.

Conclusion 

By combining the benefits of the NI PXI, CompactRIO, FPGA, and processor, we developed a rugged and specialized educational system that trains students and introduces them to HIL microgrid systems. We successfully installed the HIL MicroGrid Educational System at the Automation Microprocessors Department of Electrical Engineering at the Faculty of Perm National Research Polytechnic University in Russia.

A National Instruments Alliance Partner is a business entity independent from National Instruments and has no agency, partnership, or joint-venture relationship with National Instruments.

Author Information:
Ashot Minasyan
Find this author in the NI Developer Community

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