Opal-RT Technologies Expands Presence in the Wind Power Industry

Opal-RT Technologies, the leading developer of open Real-Time Simulators and HIL testing systems for electrical, mechanical and fast-switching power electronic systems, has announced that the company’s Real-Time Simulator products are now being used for a growing variety of engineering applications in the wind power industry.

Exhibiting and presenting at the this week’s WINDPOWER 2010 Conference & Exhibition, Opal-RT offers a wide variety of PC-based real-time simulator products, fully integrated with MATLAB®/Simulink® and SimPowerSystems™ from The MathWorks Inc. Researchers and engineers at leading universities, research centers, utilities and manufacturers are using eDRIVEsim and eMEGAsim, Opal-RT’s flagship simulators for a variety of applications including:
• Hardware-In-The-Loop simulation of PMSM, BLDC & IM motor drives, industrial drives, multi-level converters and distributed energy generation systems.
• Rapid Control Prototyping for implementing control algorithms and testing them in real-time, in both fully digital mode or in HIL mode by connecting prototyped controller I/Os to either a virtual or real-plant.
• Integration of Distributed Generation devices, including wind farms, with existing grids
• Large AC Power Grid Simulation
• Global Control Development, Prototyping and Testing
• Closed-loop Protection System Testing
• Electromagnetic Transient Studies with Multi-terminal HVDC Systems and FACTS
• HIL Testing of Physical and Prototype FACTS and HVDC Controllers
• Integration Testing of Multiple Voltage Source FACTS and HVDC Systems
• Integration Testing of Large Wind Farms using Detailed Power Converter Models
• Large Smart Grid and Microgrid Controller Development and Testing

“For over a decade, Opal-RT has been providing affordable, high-fidelity real-time simulator products to researchers and engineers involved in the design of electrical, mechanical and fast-switching power electronic systems for aerospace, automotive, industrial automation and power applications,” said Jean Belanger, CEO of Opal-RT Technologies Inc. “The motor drive, power electronic and power system simulation expertise that Opal-RT has developed through this experience is entirely applicable to the wind power industry, enabling engineers to design and effectively test all elements of a wind farm, from turbine controllers to integration of wind farms with existing power grids.”

Organizations currently using Opal-RT simulators for the design and integration of wind farm technologies include:

• CENER – Based in Spain, the National Renewable Energy Centre (CENER) is a technology centre specialized in applied research, and the development and promotion of renewable energies. CENER uses Opal-RT Simulators to conduct accelerated computation and Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation of mathematical models of wind farms.
• GE Energy – GE Energy uses Opal-RT Simulators to conduct Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation of wind turbine controllers. Simulation is conducted in closed-loop connected to a physical wind turbine, enabling researchers to gain insight into how a controller will respond in real-world scenarios.
• Grenoble Electrical Engineering Laboratory (G2Elab) – G2ELab is using Opal-RT Real-Time Simulators in research relating to Power-Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation applications, including the study of the interaction of various types of wind generators with the existing power grid.
• Laboratoire d’Electrotechnique et d’Electronique de Puissance de Lille (L2EP) – Based in Lille, France, L2EP is a research partnership between l’Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, l’Ecole Centrale de Lille, and Hautes Etudes d’Ingénieur. L2EP uses Opal-RT Simulators to conduct research focused on electric power networks and systems, including Power Hardware-in-the-Loop testing of islanded grids and Distributed Generation devices, including wind turbines.
• ROBOTIKER-Tecnalia – A unit of TECNALIA ENERGY, highly specialized in Electrotechnologies with special emphasis on the Electricity Sector and Renewable Energy Sources.
• Sandia National Laboratories – Sandia National Laboratories use Opal-RT Real-Time Simulators for the modeling, analysis, and testing of the Lanai, Hawaii power grid system for the integration and control of Wind and PhotoVoltaic (PV) distributed generation.
• Universidad Carlos III (Madrid, Spain) – The University’s Department of Electrical Engineering is using Opal-RT Simulators to conduct Power Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation of mathematical models of wind farms for control validation.
• Universidad del Pais Vasco (University of the Basque Country: San Sebastian, Spain ) – The University’s Department of Systems Engineering & Automation, based in San Sebastian, Spain, is investigating innovative control systems for wind energy production to improve the efficiency of control systems, increasing the system’s mechanical strength and reducing maintenance costs.

The eDRIVEsim Real-Time Simulator combines Opal-RT’s RT-LAB Real-Time Simulation software platform with affordable, high performance multi-core X86 processors and FPGA-based electrical motor models and fast I/O products, making it the ideal Real-Time platform for designing advanced control systems and performing HIL testing of controllers used in high-speed electric motors, power converters, and hybrid drives. eDRIVEsim also includes support for RTLAB.JMAG™, which combines Opal-RT’s RT-LAB real-time simulation technology with JMAG-RT®, part of JRI Solutions’ Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tool suite. This means that all tests can be performed in Real-Time, using high precision finite element electrical models.

eMEGAsim is a fully digital Real-Time Simulator for the study, test, and simulation of large in-land power grids, industrial power systems, commercial and military ships, and electrical train traction systems and feeding networks. eMEGAsim is used to test the functionality and performance of protection system and power electronic control systems prior to their installation in the field or to explain and find solutions to problems detected during system commissioning or after major system collapses.

Larger power grids can be simulated in Real-Time by connecting multiple eight-core eMEGAsim Simulators together with very fast 10-Gbits/s DOLPHIN communication links. eMEGAsim Simulators with 24 and 32 INTEL processor cores and XILINX FPGA chips have already been delivered for the simulation of large distributed power systems embarked on electrical ships. Over one hundred eDRIVEsim and eMEGAsim electrical system simulators equipped with 2 to 4 processor cores have already been delivered to large organizations including General Electric, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toyota, General Motors, as well as to universities and research centres around the world, illustrating the scalability and affordability of Opal-RT simulators.

Founded in 1997, Opal-RT is the leading developer of open Real-Time Digital Simulators and hardware-in-the-loop testing systems designed for use in the development and study of advanced electrical, mechanical and fast-switching power electronic systems. Opal-RT’s unique approach integrates parallel, distributed computing with commercial-off-the-shelf technologies. Opal-RT’s customers perform Rapid Control Prototyping, Real-Time Simulation, and Hardware-in-the-Loop testing of electric drives, electronic controllers and power systems used in manufacturing, electric train networks, and by electrical utilities. Companies using Opal-RT Simulators include ABB, BHEL, Denso, GE, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, GM and Toyota.