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  • RSCAD Version 5.003: Introducing GPES

    November 13, 2017

    This is the first post in a series of four covering various features of the newest version of the RSCAD software – Version 5.003.

    Introducing GPES: a new FPGA-based power electronics solver

    Real time power electronics simulation – custom converter modelling at timesteps in the sub-microsecond range

    GPES is a new operating firmware for the RTDS Simulator’s GTFPGA Unit

    The all-new general power electronics solver (GPES) supports the real time modelling of power electronics on the RTDS Simulator’s GTFPGA Unit. The motivation behind the development of the GPES is  to provide a highly flexible platform for modelling custom converter topologies with a reduced time step. The dedicated, FPGA-based hardware which runs GPES is capable of high-density calculation in parallel with the simulation running on the central RTDS Simulator hardware. Each GTFPGA Unit running GPES can support up to 128 nodes and 256 branches.

    GPES uses the same LC modelling approach as the small timestep subnetworks (VSC bridge box) solved on the NovaCor’s processor – however, the GTFPGA Unit’s enhanced computational abilities mean that more nodes, more switches, and a reduced timestep are possible. The smaller time step will result in smaller L and C values for ON and OFF switching state representation which will result in more accurate representation of the switching losses for freely configurable converters.

    Similarly to the small timestep subnetwork environment, GPES network development is done within a special GPES bridge box component in RSCAD (shown below). The new GPES tab in the Master Library contains a limited selection of components that can be used within the GPES bridge box. The GPES bridge box connects to a small timestep bridge box running on a NovaCor or PB5. That means the circuit running on GPES can be connected to a model running in the small timestep and exchange control signals with the small timestep. This way, any components required in the case which cannot be modeled on GPES (e.g. machines or dynamic loads) can be modelled in the small timestep as shown below. The GPES also has an Aurora interfacing block that allows firing pulses to be received directly from external controls.

    The new GPES bridge box component is used for developing GPES-based networks and interfacing them with the chassis- or rack-based simulation

    The GTFPGA Unit running GPES is connected with the main RTDS Simulator hardware via fibre cable (connected from the rear of the GTFPGA Unit to the rear of the NovaCor chassis or GTWIF-based rack running the simulation) as shown in the below diagram.

    For more information on GPES or other features of RSCAD Version 5.003, please email marketing@rtds.com.

    Take a few seconds to watch our RSCAD Version 5.003 release video here:

    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • RTDS Technologies welcomes RELARTE

    November 6, 2017

    RTDS Technologies is pleased to announce that we have welcomed RELARTE Ltd to our team of global representatives. They are the exclusive representatives for Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina!

    RELARTE is an independent power system consulting company with its office located near the beautiful Alpine lake of Bohinj in city of Bohinjska Bistrica, Slovenia. The company is owned and operated by Janez Zakonjsek, an expert with many years of practice in secondary power systems, including real time simulation of power systems on different voltage levels as well as testing of protection and control devices worldwide. He started this practice on electromechanical models in 1978 and has more than 15 years practice doing studies with the RTDS Simulator from RTDS Technologies.

    Janez has participated a number of real time certification tests at large laboratories for different power companies around the world. He has also consulted different laboratories and utilities during preparation of certification procedures as well as consulting for different vendors during their pre-qualification tests. His main competences are within protection, automation and control of modern power systems including smart grid solutions.

    Please feel free to contact him at janez.zakonjsek@relarte.com.

    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • RTDS Technologies expands production capacity

    October 27, 2017

    RTDS Technologies is pleased to announce a significant expansion to its production capacity at the RTDS Simulator’s worldwide headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

    With the release of NovaCor, the newest generation of simulation hardware for the RTDS Simulator, in April 2017, there has been an unprecedented demand for Simulator upgrades and new installations around the world. To meet this demand, RTDS Technologies has expanded its on-site production capabilities in terms of both staff and facilities. Many new production staff have been hired since the release of NovaCor, increasing the size of the production team by almost 50%. The on-site production facility has also expanded into new space, nearly doubling the floor space available for assembling NovaCor chassis and cubicles.

    The design, manufacturing, assembly, marketing, servicing and support, shipping, and continued development of the RTDS Simulator is all done out of the RTDS Technologies headquarters in Winnipeg. This allows RTDS Technologies to maintain the highest quality of equipment and support in the industry due to the control over every aspect of our product’s development. Every piece of equipment that leaves the facility has been developed, built and thoroughly tested in-house. The increase in the size of and resources available to our production team will allow us to maintain the same level of quality and comprehensive testing as demand for NovaCor continues to accelerate.



    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • Hot Topic: Distribution Simulation with the RTDS Simulator

    October 26, 2017

    Distribution Simulation with the RTDS Simulator

    Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) are becoming more prevalent in distribution systems. An increasing number of people are adding solar panels to their houses, solar and wind farms are increasing in number, and electric vehicles and battery storage are increasing in popularity.

    Distribution systems were not originally built with these things in mind. Distribution systems were designed with power generated further away from the load. More sophisticated study tools are needed to study the bi-directional power flow of DERs in distribution feeders. The RTDS Simulator is a real time Electromagnetic Transient (EMT) simulator, and can be used to model and study distribution feeders.

    In RTDS, when a case has reached the node limit of the hardware, the network has to be split using a travelling wave transmission line or a cross rack transformer. In transmission systems this is no problem, since the travel time of the transmission line is often longer than the timestep. In distribution systems, where the whole case is tightly coupled, a transmission line needs to be lengthened in order to split the system into multiple networks. Introducing artificial subsystem splitting in a case can add error to the system, such as bus voltages becoming unusually high.

    Looking at the IEEE123 Node Test Feeder case, the longest transmission line is 825 feet which is approximately 0.25 km. Looking at the table below, the transmission line length would have to be increased significantly to split the system.

    Distribution Mode

    RTDS Technologies has developed an operating mode in the RSCAD software called Distribution Mode. Distribution Mode works in a substantially similar way to normal simulation mode, but a few key differences allow the user to model significantly more power system nodes in one tightly coupled area using this mode. In Distribution Mode, feeders of hundreds of single phase nodes can be simulated on one RTDS Simulator rack or chassis!

    Distribution Mode relies on the feeder being radial in structure, which reduces the computational burden of solving the network in real time due to the highly sparse nature of the network’s admittance matrix. Also, the simulation timestep for Distribution Mode is slightly larger – in the range of 100-200 microseconds – to provide more time for calculating the network solution. These factors allow a vastly larger number of power system nodes to be modelled in one tightly coupled subsystem.

    The IEEE123 Node Test Feeder case has been successfully simulated in one subsystem in Distribution Mode with DERs added in 4 different locations as seen in Figure 1. It can run on both PB5 and NovaCor systems, and has a total of 288 nodes.

    Figure 1: IEEE123 Node Test Feeder with DERs

    Average Models

    The small timestep bridge box cannot be used in Distribution Mode due to the increased timestep, therefore the DERs were modeled with average model components rather than fully switched models in the small timestep. Two average models have been developed. There is the dynamic PQ source, and the DC/AC average model shown in Figure 2.

    The dynamic PQ source assumes a constant, large DC source. This model is sufficient for applications where the focus is on how the system responds to real and reactive power flow from a large number of DERs. This model was used in the IEEE123 Node Test Feeder case to model the DERs.

    The DC/AC average model allows a DC component, such as a PV or battery model, to be interfaced with the AC system. It neglects the effects of the switching devices but is sufficient for providing the accurate real and reactive power profile of the converter. The average models require much less computational resources than the fully switched small timestep models, so they are much more efficient in terms of RTDS Simulator hardware required for modelling.

    Figure 2: Average Models (a) Dynamic PQ Source (b) DC/AC Average Model

    CYME to RSCAD Conversion Program

    A CYME to RSCAD conversion program has also been developed. It allows a distribution case modeled in CYME to be converted into Distribution Mode in RSCAD.

    Figure 3: CYME to RSCAD Conversion Program

    Due to the difference in graphics in CYME, new graphics were created in RSCAD for the components used in the conversion program. The components can stretch in any direction to connect between any 2 points in draft. Most of the components are 1-3 phases, and all 1-3 phase connections are at one point on the draft canvas. A small sample circuit using these new component graphics is shown in Figure 4. A library tab in Distribution Mode contains these components.

    Figure 4: Distribution Stretchable Graphics

    Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@rtds.com.

    Learn more!

    Author: Melanie Dyck, October 2017


    1. Dyck and O. Nzimako, 2017, “Real Time Simulation of Large Distribution Networks with Distributed Energy Resources,” in CIRED, Scotland.
    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • University of Alberta selects the RTDS Simulator for Donadeo Innovation Centre

    October 24, 2017

    RTDS Technologies is pleased to announce that the University of Alberta has officially selected the RTDS Simulator as the technology of choice for their real time simulation laboratory at the Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering. The University of Alberta will receive a powerful RTDS Simulator comprised of two NovaCor chassis with a total of seven licensed cores, as well as both conventional and ethernet-based I/O components for interfacing external hardware. The Simulator will be used as a key tool for transmission level studies and the modelling of power systems with both AC and DC components, including the modelling of LCC, VSC, and modular multilevel converters.

    The University of Alberta is now one of over 170 universities and research institutions worldwide using the RTDS Simulator for testing control and protection systems and simulating power systems at the transmission and distribution level. Their new Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering will be a hub of research activity, providing great opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration among professors and students.

    RTDS Technologies Inc.