Joint project VirTuOS
Virtualization of wind turbine test procedures through online services
- 01.01.2023 to 31.12.2025
- Drive Systems
Wind turbines are an essential part of the transition to climate-neutral energy supply by generating electricity from renewable energy sources, namely wind. In this context, the determination of the electrical characteristics of the wind turbine system is indispensable, to ensure operational reliability and the desired behavior in normal operation and in exceptional situations. In order to reduce the time and associated costs of determining these characteristics, great efforts have been made in the recent past to carry out appropriate tests for wind turbines on nacelle test benches. The underlying idea is to replace parts of the overall system of the real wind turbine with real-time simulations of the missing components. Although such system-level tests increase flexibility and reproducibility, they involve a costly mechanical test setup. To further reduce this effort, the test bench concept is to be reduced to component level. In contrast to previous tests on nacelle test benches, load application on inverter-based component test benches is purely electrical, which completely avoids mechanical test bench and device-under-test (DUT) components. The aim is to emulate realistic wind turbine behavior at the electrical power level of several megawatts in the laboratory and to couple it with the existing DUT. The project goal is to develop such a complete system and to provide experimental proof of function.
Project Goals and Methods
In the joint research project VirTuOS, hardware-in-the-loop (HiL)-based test procedures for the entire converter system of a wind turbine are to be developed. In contrast to already established mechanical-level HiL methods, the to-be-developed power-level HiL (PHiL) system ensures the realistic emulation of electrical quantities at the interfaces of the DUT. The reduced complexity of the physical structure is compensated by more complex real-time simulations of the emulated components. PHiL systems are used to emulate the generator-side wind turbine and the electrical grid. Finally, the simulated behavior is to be imposed on the real interfaces of the DUT by emulation converters. An essential part of the project is the construction of a test bench in the megawatt power class at the Center for Wind Power Drives, called CWD of RWTH Aachen University, where the HiL concept will be experimentally validated in combination with test bench and DUT. This requires advanced PHiL methods for coupling simulation and test bench as well as innovative control approaches that ensure the necessary system stability and performance. Networking concepts for PHiL are also being investigated, with the goal of opening the possibility of geographically distributed computing and the coupling of these simulations with the on-site PHiL systems.
Innovations and Perspectives
The introduction of novel test processes enables an innovation boost for the entire local wind industry and can be regarded as pioneering work for the ongoing revolution of test processes for wind turbines. The innovation results from the test bench concept with two PHiL systems, which enable the embedding of the DUT in a holistic emulation system. Further innovation potential also exists in the interconnection of geographically distributed, virtual and real, system components, to form a virtual overall system. The research and standardization of suitable interfaces and communication standards allows different stakeholders to independently link the so-called virtual components and thus use the provided test infrastructure. The test bench is designed as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), which makes it possible to investigate the interaction of the real DUT with virtual components at an early stage of development and to gain insights for further improvements. The project as a concept study thus paves the way for securing Germany as a long-term innovation site for the wind industry.