Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation Software (VirtualGen)
Relay test sets and dedicated three-phase ac voltage and current sources have long been employed in the static testing of excitation systems and other generator controls. While these systems allow verification of the static setpoints of regulators and limiters they did not provide any method of testing the complex dynamics of these devices. At the same time a number of systems have been designed to allow detailed generator and power system transmission simulations to be coupled to physical devices such as relays for "hardware-in-the-loop" tests. These special-purpose systems have been relatively expensive and were not portable thereby preventing in-situ testing of larger equipment.
NERC regulatory requirements call for periodic re-verification of the settings and performance of many of the excitation systems controls. Many Utilities are seeking methods to reduce the duration of tests and the risks associated with testing of excitation limiters at the operating limits of their equipment.
The VirtualGen simulator was designed to provide a realistic simulation of generator dynamics under a variety of operating conditions for inclusion in "hardware-in-the-loop" testing. VirtualGen software utilizes a high speed connection to a standard relay test set in order to respond to stimuli from the system being tested in real-time. VirtualGen simulates the dynamics of the generator and power system in real-time and can be adjusted to represent any generator and system connection strength.
By combining this method of testing conducted during outages with conventional off-line and on-line tests utilities will be able to maximize unit availability by:
- Confirming dynamic response of the controls for model verification purposes
- Locating and correcting latent defects
- Monitor equipment for intermittent faults without endangering equipment
- Tuning equipment for the best possible dynamic response
- Confirming coordination of controls, limiters and protective relays
- Providing a realistic training environment for staff to exercise their testing and troubleshooting procedures
The system can also be used to perform acceptance tests of new equipment prior to their application in the actual station environment.
VirtualGen Main Screen