Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany, is equipped to innovate with Europe’s most powerful academic RTDS Simulator

Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany, is equipped to innovate with Europe’s most powerful academic RTDS Simulator

Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany, is equipped to innovate with Europe’s most powerful academic RTDS Simulator


Simulation and HIL training begins at Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany

On March 29, 2019, the most powerful academic RTDS Simulator in Europe was officially commissioned at Friedrich-Alexander University’s (FAU) Institute of Electrical Energy Systems (IEES). Located in Erlangen and Nuremberg, Germany, the institute is a leader in the research and development of innovative electrical power systems. The focus is on the design and operation of sustainable energy systems, quite often with an interdisciplinary approach and international collaboration.

The RTDS Simulator installed at FAU is not only the most powerful real-time power system simulator at any university in Europe, but also among the top five most-powerful university simulators in the world. The world-class system, based on the multicore processing platform called NovaCor, consists of six simulation chassis that can be used to run separate simulations — or be connected together to represent even larger, more complex networks if necessary. The IEES has plans to apply the system to protection system testing, energy storage system development and testing, and innovative HVDC & FACTS research.

The installed simulator has impressive I/O features for connection to real-world equipment. More than 500 channels for analogue and digital input and output will allow the institute to do significant hardware-in-the-loop testing by connecting external protection, control, or power devices to the simulated network. Power amplifiers from Omicron, Triphase NV as well as Spitzenberger & Spies also located in the lab will allow secondary-level devices and power devices to be connected to the simulator.

“The commissioning of our new real time simulation laboratory is the beginning of a new era in the energy research at the Friedrich-Alexander-University. The simulator itself paves us the way to further development our research and education concept in the power sector in order to become a worldwide visible competence centre. In this respect, we are also going to cooperate with network operators, technology manufacturers and other major players of the energy industry.

Name: Prof. Dr. Matthias Luther
Position: Chair of the Institute of Electrical Energy Systems, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg

Considerably more I/O signals are available via Ethernet using the smart grid communication capabilities of the RTDS Simulator at FAU. The simulation hardware setup includes seven network interface cards that are capable of interfacing to external devices via IEC 61850 Sampled Values and GOOSE Messages, IEC 60870-5-104 protocol, IEEE C37.118 synchrophasor data, and TCP/UDP sockets. This hardware will allow the university to test substation automation, PMU schemes, and other non-wires alternatives in a closed loop.

The institute will take advantage of these hardware-in-the-loop capabilities to investigate protection solutions for grids with distributed in-feed or HVDC systems, to prototype controls for modular multilevel converters (MMC), to conduct performance testing and grid interaction studies for conventional and MMC-based HVDC systems, and to de-risk the grid connection of distributed energy and storage systems.

Researchers connect protection devices (left) in a closed loop with the simulated network

A powerful set of 12 GTFPGA Units rounds out the lab’s simulator. These units are capable of simulating particularly calculation-dense components or subnetworks and can be used for several applications. For IEESU’s HVDC experts, they will represent a multi-terminal MMC system, providing opportunities to simulate internal faults and customized valve topologies.

With one of the world’s most powerful real-time power system simulators at a university, the IEES at Germany’s Friedrich Alexander University will be an institute to watch. Stay tuned to our website and RTDS Newsletter for project updates.