High Fidelity Real-Time Simulation of Electrical Drives
OPAL-RT has released the 3rd Generation of its electrical hardware solver to implement models of electrical circuits directly on an FPGA
Electrical drives are more and more widely spread in all industries including energy (low-voltage to high-voltage converters), automotive (electrical vehicle, hybrid electrical vehicle), and aerospace (more electrical aircraft, drones). Validating innovative drives with more complex controls and ensuring more accuracy and efficiency is quite a challenge, especially when considering very fast-switching converters. OPAL-RT Technologies, a leader in real-time simulators based on PC and FPGA, manufactures real-time simulators ready to take up the challenge.
The objective? To ally performance and ease of use to let engineers validate their most complex and demanding electrical drives.
The concept? To take advantage of the HIL approach, where the controller under test is connected to simulated converters and electrical machines.
The means? To combine CPU and FPGA processing units to bring the computation power and a comprehensive electrical circuit editor to describe the circuit to be simulated.
OPAL-RT has released the 3rd Generation of its eHS solver (electrical hardware solver), which lets system engineers implement models of electrical circuits directly on an FPGA, without the need of any FPGA coding skills, in just a few clicks. Any inverter topology (2-level, 3-level, N-level, including more complex cases with other AC/DC & DC/DC converters) coupled with single or multiple electrical machines (PMSM, IM, SRM, etc.) can be implemented and simulated with sub-microsecond time-steps. With no predefined circuits, the user can design his own topology down to every single switch, resistance, capacitor, or inductance.
eHS brings many benefits, such as an increase in productivity and quality of the validation of controllers. It's easy to use, tailored to system engineers, and can be deployed within minutes, with the first closed-loop results available within hours. The electrical circuits can be reconfigured by the user anytime in order to adapt to each project or variation of a project. The performance (high simulation speed, low latency, and great accuracy) allows the testing of real controllers in conditions very close to reality, even though the converters and electrical machines are simulated.
Moreover, eHS allows a faster validation process, with the implementation of more use cases, including faulty behavior (open and short circuits anywhere in the electrical circuit), to perform better tests, not only in normal conditions but also in undesirable cases with negative side-effects.
Finally, eHS allows obviously non-negligible cost-savings, because of the software nature of the electrical circuit there is no risk of breaking the converters or machines, as they are simulated. The system can be reused anytime, to represent any other circuit topology, depending on the project, therefore reducing the need to create costly physical prototypes of converters and machines.
Real-time simulation is enabling the world’s visionaries to make innovative ideas a reality. OPAL-RT empowers engineers and researchers with accessible, cutting-edge, real-time simulation technology to accelerate the development of better products and more reliable energy transmission.
Since 1997, industries including automotive, aerospace, power electronics and power generation have increasingly turned to OPAL-RT, transforming the company into a world leader in real-time simulation and Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) testing equipment for electrical, electro-mechanical and power electronics systems.
This article originally appeared in the Bodo’s Power Systems magazine.