Renewable Energy Case Study Slide Deck
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Renewable Energy Case Study Slide Deck



Renewable Energy is a pretty broad topic, and even though we constantly hear it being talked about (and will hear even more with the UN Climate Change Conference kicking off in Copenhagen this week), ...

Renewable Energy is a pretty broad topic, and even though we constantly hear it being talked about (and will hear even more with the UN Climate Change Conference kicking off in Copenhagen this week), finding the opportunities within this large industry can be challenging. Sometimes, even understanding what renewable energy is can be complicated; there are so many different technologies, from wave harvesting ocean buoys to massive solar thermal collectors, and everything in-between. Where should we focus our efforts? How do NI products fit into the picture? Which of these applications have we already had success in? To answer some of these questions, I've created a basic overview of the renewable energy market, and highlighted two of the biggest industries and applications that are a good fit for NI technology. I've also included a slide deck of renewable energy case studies that can all be shared publically with your customers. If you have additional applications and case studies that you'd like to add to these documents, please pass them on and I'll be sure to include them in future revisions.



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  • 3rd largest solar company in SpainOperations in Spain, US, France, and ItalyPrimarily a PV solar company, but conducting significant R&D into other areas of renewable energy (small wind power, fuel cells, etc.)Rapid growth since company was founded in 2001 (next slide as details)Siliken performs all aspects of solar panel development, from silicon purification, to panel production and test, to final installation. In all of these areas, Siliken uses NI products to prototype new ideas, automate production, test panels as they come of the manufacturing line, etc. Case StudyAuthor(s):Alberto Cortes - Siliken Renewable Energy Ricardo Silla - Siliken Renewable Energy The Challenge:Optimizing the production and installation of solar panels – from Silicon purification to end-of-line manufacturing verification to final installation and monitoring. The Solution:Using NI hardware and software to optimize the solar panel production process, from purifying silicon ore to manufacturing and testing the final product, to ensure that we consistently produce high-quality solar panels. "Using NI CompactRIO, LabVIEW FPGA, and an NI PCI-6122 S Series multifunction DAQ board, we performed these tests with greater accuracy and significantly increased our throughput."Sunlight is the most plentiful natural resource. Because the sun is not subject to the same supply limitations as fossil fuels and it is available nearly everywhere, it is increasingly being used as a free, clean source of renewable energy. Our engineers at Siliken Renewable Energy work to help harness this abundant resource and address escalating environmental and energy concerns. As a company, we have grown to become one of Spain’s largest manufacturers of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, which we use to convert sunlight into electricity. Siliken differs from other PV module manufacturers because we handle all aspects of solar panel development including silicon purification, panel manufacturing, verification, and installation. NI products play an important role in our research and development process to innovate and produce new technologies and to test every solar panel we produce.Optimizing the Silicon Purification Process with NI ProductsThe typical silicon purification process consists of converting the chemical element to a silicon compound, which we can more easily purify by distillation than in its original state, and then converting that silicon compound back into pure silicon. At our facilities, we use a novel, patented silicon purification process that may become 40 percent cheaper than traditional methods such as the Siemens process. To further increase the efficiency of our new process, we began optimizing the standard control equipment already in place at the facility that we built using the NI PXI platform,LabVIEW FPGA Module, sound and vibration software, and vision software.Because we purify the silicon at temperatures hotter than 1,000 °C, we used an NI PXI-1422 digital image acquisition module to acquire images of the purified silicon particles as they are fed out of the purification reactor. Next, with NI vision software, we conduct a remote analysis of the images to measure the size of large amounts of purified particles as they are produced. At the same time, we need faster control loop rates to measure the flow and pressure parameters of the purified silicon. Using the NI PXI-4472 dynamic signal acquisition module, we can monitor vibration levels to ensure that they never surpass predefined security levels, thus avoiding system instability that could cause the reactor to break. We chose to use the highly integrated LabVIEW and NI PXI platform and conducted two separate critical tasks using a unified solution.Solar Panel Manufacturing and Quality Testing Using NI Hardware and SoftwareWhen we began manufacturing solar panels, our end-of-line test system consisted of a boxed scope that we used to perform manual testing. With our new PC-based system based on LabVIEW and an NI PCI-6220 multifunction M Series data acquisition (DAQ) board, we integrated the “closing” of the solar modules into a semiautomatic process. Using a LabVIEW front panel as the human machine interface (HMI) and the DAQ board to help perform the operation, this application essentially "closes" the module once the solar cells are inside.After we assemble the solar panels, we must perform I-V characterization tests to verify the power output of every module to ensure that each one produces the stated power. Performing these tests is rather complex because we have to administer a known quantity of light to each panel so we can simultaneously determine both the voltage and current draw of the panel. To accomplish this, we developed a method that only uses a single 10 ms pulse of light. When the light pulse is administered, we acquire the I-V of the panel to calculate its power in watts.Using NI CompactRIO, LabVIEW FPGA, and an NI PCI-6122 S Series multifunction DAQ board, we performed these tests with greater accuracy and significantly increased our throughput. In the past, we conducted this process using multiple sequential tests. In addition, while the previous I-V curve we used consisted of 30 points, we now use more than 2,000 points for I-V characterization testing, thus providing more precise calibration parameters. As a result, we received recognition for providing the best advertised-to-actual performance ratio for panel output.Beyond Solar Panel ManufacturingIn addition to solar panel production, we are also manufacturing essential equipment such as solar panel inverters, which are used primarily to change direct current to alternating current via an electrical switching process. Before we began manufacturing our invertors, we developed a prototype using NI CompactRIO and an NI TPC-2006 touch panel computer. We are also using CompactRIO to conduct research in other renewable energy fields such as hydrogen fuel cells, and NI CompactDAQ for wind power research because these platforms offer compelling operational advantages and shorter development times than other traditional control and test tools.
  • Author(s):Javier Bezares - BCB Informática y Control Products:Vision Development Module, LabVIEW The Challenge:Developing an automatic and continuous calibration of large mirrors, called heliostats,and analyzing images captured from more than 500 meters away The Solution:Using National Instuments LabVIEW graphical programming software, IMAQ images libraries, and a modbus driver and SQL toolkit for communications between a databases and the sun disc projections on the upper zone (target) of the tower, in the first termosolar power central in the world with commercial purposes. A wider exploitation of renewable energy sources is a key priority for western countries. With this interest,big investments have been brought to energy and research companies to develop a new type of solar plant based on a Concentring Solar Power (CSP) system. In these systems,incoming solar radiation is concentrated by using a heliostat field in a receiver situated in the top of the tower which holds the mirrors. These mirrors follow the sun’s orbit using two movement axes to maximize the luminous flux reflected on each mirror. At any time, each heliostat has to correct its elevation and azimuth angles to track the sun movement in the sky.Abengoa Solar and its sister company, Abener, have built the PS-10 the PS-20 solar plants, located in Sanlúcar la Mayor. The PS-10 tower is the first solar tower in the world to commercially generate electricity and deliver 23 GWh annually reliably to the grid.BCB has developed the Heliostat Calibrating System in order to calibrate 624 heliostats for the PS-10 plant and 1.255 heliostats for the PS-20 plant. Each heliostat has a reflecting surface of 120 square meters. BCB has customized an application based on artificial vision for the capture, analysis and image treatment of the solar disc projection. The solar disks project heliostats on the target situated under the receiver in the tower. In order to supervise the heliostat command, two IP cameras are used over GigaEthernet to guarantee required bandwidth, and an encapsulated RS-232 protocol. The system has been designed and implemented with LabVIEW tools. A Modbus driver also is required for communication with the heliostats mechanic control subsystem. All generated numeric, alphanumeric and image data is saved in a central database using the LabVIEW SQL toolkit.Basically, the system adjusts the heliostat movements automatically in relationship with other heliostats. We have to take into consideration that for the heliostats located in the most distant place from the tower central site, an error of mili-radians gives a big error to concentrate its power in the receiver, and so a reduction a in the generated power. The system is able to calibrate the heliostat field automatically or manually. The mirrors are calibrated according an automatic and periodical planning, calibration frequency for central mirrors is lower than for external mirrors.The IP camera is a black and white, high resolution camera, GigaEthernet and it aims on the receiver located more than 500 meters away of the tower. A wide dynamic range of 120 dB provides the image capture and analysis of the projection of the solar disc for every heliostat. Another camera is located on the tower and used only for vision purposes. It is automatically instructed to zoom, pan and tilt, and its final goal is the preventive maintenance of the heliostat field.The construction of the PS10 plant has been a complete success. Currently, a second generation tower, the PS20, is under construction at Sanlúcar. Operation of the plant will be similar to the PS10, but the PS20 will have twice the capacity of the PS10 and will therefore supply 50.6 GWh/year.
  • Author(s):Paul McEntee - KingspanRenewables UK Products:FieldPoint, LabVIEW, Datalogging and Supervisory Control, Motion Control The Challenge:Creating premium-quality equipment for efficient and economical conversion of solar radiation into thermal energy. The Solution:Building two PC-based, fully automated test systems using NI FieldPoint, LabVIEW, the LabVIEW Datalogging and Supervisory Control (DSC) Module, and motion control. "Because the development time for new products has been considerably reduced, we no longer need to send prototypes to European test institutes, which has reduced our development costs. "Creating Systems to Achieve Quality AssuranceThermomax Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of premium quality equipment for efficient and economical conversion of solar radiation into thermal energy. Our evacuated tube solar collectors are used to produce clean energy for domestic and industrial hot water, space heating, and cooling and seawater desalination. At our manufacturing facility in Bangor, Northern Ireland, we have installed two new test facilities – one for outside tests under real conditions and an indoor solar simulator. The new facilities have significantly reduced the time and cost of product development and are useful tools for ongoing production quality assurance. Using the solar simulator, we can perform tests all year round, no matter what the weather conditions are outside.Building a System Using NI FieldPoint, LabVIEW, and Motion ControlWe built two PC-based, fully automated test systems using hardware based on FieldPoint and software, including NI FP-1601 network modules, relay, counter/timer, analog input, output, and thermocouple modules, and NI LabVIEW DSC and LabVIEW software. We also included a two-axis motion system controlled by an NI PCI-7342 motion controller and an NI UMI-7772 interface using LabVIEW. We employed six FP-1601 network modules on the outside test rig controlling and acquiring data from 212 channels. Due to the high channel count, we employed the LabVIEW DSC Module to reduce the development time for the control and data acquisition system and store the data in an easily accessible database. We can test up to four collector systems at any one time and subject them to one of nine test sequences.We employed an additional FP-1601 network module on the solar simulator to acquire and control 34 channels. We used the two-axis motion system to acquire an irradiance map of the simulator lamp array prior to each test. We used a LabVIEW program to perform all the control, data acquisition, and analysis enabling automated efficiency tests on the collectors to BS EN 12975. We had overcome a unique range of challenges at each test facility. On the outside test rig, we had a large number of channels to deal with and data had to be recorded over months and even years. In addition, if the energy from the collectors was not used, they could become extrememly hot. As a result, we incorporated alarms and safety interlocks into the system. We used the LabVIEW DSC Module, which made the design and implementation of the control system relatively straightforward. We used the tag configuration editor to interface with the FieldPoint channels via the Ethernet to considerably reduce the amount of code writing. Using the tag configuration editor, we easily implemented channel scaling, deadbanding, and alarms. The NI Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX) software also proved to be extremely useful. During commissioning, we used MAX for low-level control of the FieldPoint hardware without having to write any code. When the system runs MAX, it provides a simple way to view and export data from the citadel database using the historical viewer.On the solar simulator, we had a much smaller number of channels, but the test requirements of BS EN 12975 demanded precise control of the temperature and mass flow rate of the system fluid. To achieve this, we installed two Honeywell control valves, one to control the coolant flow to a heat exchanger for temperature control and the second to control the mass flow through the collector under test. We used the advanced PID VIs in LabVIEW to generate the control signals to the valves via a FP-AO-V10 two-channel analog output module.Using the advanced PID VIs, we implemented bumpless manual to automatic and automatic to manual control. Our second challenge was to develop a two-dimensional mapping system to precisely measure the incident irradiance on the collectors prior to each test. Initially, we attempted to acquire the map manually, but this required two operators and a significant amount of time. As a result, we decided to install a two-axis motion system to move the pyranometer and record the irradiance. We used an NI PCI-7342 motion controller and an NI UMI-7772 motion interface to control two stepper drives and motors. The system moved a Kipp & Zonen CM11 pyranometer, which is connected to an analog input channel on the FieldPoint bank, and records a 200 point map.Results Using NI ProductsBy using NI hardware and LabVIEW software a completely integrated solution could be constructed quickly and easily. The two test facilities have proved to be very successful and are in use daily. Because the development time for new products has been considerably reduced, we no longer need to send prototypes to European test institutes, which has reduced our development costs. The systems were instrumental in reducing the time to market for our new range of collector manifolds. We continue to expand the range of applications of the systems to quality control and marketing. In addition, our customers can view real-time testing of their products via the Web.
  • Siemens Wind Power Develops a Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulator for Wind Turbine Control System Software TestingAuthor(s):SamirBico - Siemens Wind Power A/S Products:cRIO-9151, LabVIEW, PXI-7813R, PXI-6515, PXI-6704, FPGA Module, Simulation Interface Toolkit, Real-Time Module, PXI-1042Q, NI TestStand, PXI-7833R, NI 9264, PXI-8106, NI 9205, NI 9425, PXI-6514, NI 9476, NI 9265, PCI-6733, Control Design and Simulation Module The Challenge:Improving the automated testing of frequent software releases of Siemens wind turbine control systems as well as testing and verifying the wind turbine control system components in the development phase. The Solution:Creating a new real-time test system for hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing of the embedded control software releases of Siemens wind turbine control systems using NI TestStand, the LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA modules, and the NI PXI platform. "The modular architecture allows us to scale-up the system to meet the growing requirements of rapidly evolving wind energy technology."Testing the Control System SoftwareA wind turbine system consists of several components including the rotor, gear, converter, and transformer used to convert kinetic wind energy to electricity. The control system interfaces with these components through hundreds of I/O signals and multiple communication protocols. The most complex part of the control system is the embedded control software executing the control loops.Because our software developers regularly release a new software version for the controller, we need to test the software to verify that these releases will execute reliably in the wind park’s conditions. With every software release we perform factory acceptance testing before the software can be used in the field. This new test system gives us the ability to automate this process.Lessons Learned from the Previous SystemOur previous test system was developed 10 years ago and based on another software environment and PCI data acquisition boards. The test system architecture and performance did not meet our new requirements for test time and scalability. It was difficult to maintain and did not have sufficient automation capabilities for efficient testing. It also lacked automatic test result documentation and test case traceability and did not provide the required remote control capabilities. In addition, the old HIL test environment did not support multicore processing, which prevented us from taking advantage of the computing power of the latest multicore processors.Our Decision for Future SystemsAfter evaluating the available technologies, we selected LabVIEW software and PXI-based real-time and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware to develop our new test solution. We believe this technology gives us the flexibility and expandability to meet our future technical requirements. Also, we have established confidence in the solution with the high level of service and quality of the products from NI.Because we did not have in-depth development expertise for test systems in-house, we contracted the development to CIM Industrial Systems A/S in Denmark. We chose CIM Industrial Systems A/S because they had the test engineering capability available and the largest number of certified LabVIEW architects in Europe. CIM made this project a success and we are very pleased with the service we received.A Flexible Real-Time Test System ArchitectureThe new test system simulates the behavior of the real wind turbine components by running simulation models for these components in the LabVIEW Real-Time system to supply simulated signals to the system under test.The host computer has an intuitive LabVIEW GUI that users can easily adapt by moving the components in the panel. The Windows OS application also communicates with two external instruments that were not real-time compatible.The software on the host computer communicates with the LabVIEW Real-Time target in a PXI-1042Q chassis over Ethernet. LabVIEW Real-Time runs simulation software that typically consists of 20 to 25 simulation DLLs executing in parallel. This solution can call user models built with almost any modeling environment such as the NI LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module, The MathWorks, Inc. Simulink® software, or ANSI C code. A typical execution rate of our simulation loop is 24 ms, leaving plenty of processing capacity to meet future expansion needs.FPGA Boards for Custom Wind Turbine Protocols and Sensor SimulationsThere are a lot of custom communication protocols used in wind turbines because of the lack of existing standards. Using an NI PXI-7833R FPGA-based multifunction RIO module with the LabVIEW FPGA Module, we can interface with and simulate these protocols. In addition to protocol interfacing, we are using the device to simulate magnetic sensors and for accurate three-phase voltage and current simulations. The other FPGA board is connected to an NI 9151 R Series expansion chassis to further increase the system channel count.The Benefits of the New Test SystemThe new Siemens Wind Power test system has several benefits over the previous generation solution. Because of the modularity of the system, it is easy to improve, adapt, and further develop. The system under test can be quickly replaced without any changes in the test system architecture. Remote control capability and simple replication of the system gives us the flexibility to copy the system to other sites as our operations expand.The simulator provides an environment to effectively verify the new software releases and test special situations in our laboratory. It also gives us a tool to test new technologies and concepts we are working on.Future PlansThe modular architecture allows us to scale-up the system to meet the growing requirements of rapidly evolving wind energy technology. We envision dividing the simulation to multiple LabVIEW Real-Time targets to meet our future testing needs. We are also going to use NI TestStand to further automate test execution.
  • Overview:This example is with a company called Energy to Quality, located in Madrid Spain. As wind power becomes a larger source of generated electricity, it is critical to ensure that wind farms are not damaged during disturbances on the grid. Faults on the grid can produce voltage dips that traditionally caused wind turbines to drop out or trip out of the system. However, it is advantageous for wind turbines to stay on-line and connected during disturbances, but to do so the equipment must be tested for low voltage ride-through capability. To do this, the mobile (located in the truck) test system generates short circuits through circuit-breakers at voltages up to 36 kV, requiring significant user safety systems. Energy To Quality S.L. has been testing wind farms according to grid codesof the main European and American transmission operators for the past two years with a mobile voltage dip generator controlled by LabVIEW and a PXI/SCXI system. The PXI/SCXI system uses high voltage input modules to measure secondary voltages at 110 VAC while controlling relays connected to tripping coils. This hardware then communicates results to an additional LabVIEW application on a remote computer via TCP/IP for user safety. With test time under a minute, operators know immediately if the wind turbine complies with the requirements of grid operator enabling new wind farms to come on-line more quickly. Case Study:Author(s):Ana Morales - Energy To Quality S.L.Xavier Robe - Energy To Quality S.L. Products:LabVIEW, PXI-1052 The Challenge:Controlling a medium-voltage dip generator using one system to record the signals and postprocess the data for full-scale tests of wind turbines with the capability of closing a circuit breaker on a specific phase angle. The Solution:Developing a control system using the NI PXI-1052 PXI/SCXI chassis with a data acquisition device and HV digital inputs and outputs combined with a digital protection relay for safety and operated for control and signal acquisition using a user-friendly interface developed in the NI LabVIEW graphical programming environment. "The PXI chassis transmits the states of the circuit breakers and executes orders given by the user. If communication is lost or if the application crashes, the system keeps the switches and circuit breakers in a safe position."Energy To Quality S.L. (E2Q) has been testing wind turbines in the field for more than two years. The equipment, mounted in a trailer, generates short circuits in medium-voltage networks. Using a voltage divider, short circuits are generated by the actuation of a circuit-breaker. Due to the requirements of a new customer and the need for an easy-to-use interface, we developed a voltage dip generator controlled by the PXI-1052 chassis. Dip Generator Control System Requirements Generating deliberately short circuits in medium-voltage networks is not common. At medium and high voltage levels, the main consideration is the safety of the staff, followed by protecting the equipment. Besides the dimensioning of the components and the standard measures of protection, the control system must be reliable and prevent any operation that puts people in danger or damages equipment. The interface should also be user friendly and display recorded signals from the test in real time. The system must be able open and close four medium-voltage switch and circuit breakers as well as give the position of all the elements at any time. Our customer requested additional controls as well, such as a circuit breaker that generates the voltage dip and closes on a specific value of the voltage phase. The closing angle determines the behavior of the power electronics converter installed in the wind turbines.  SystemImplantationThe circuit breakers are controlled at 125 VDC by a rectifier with a back-up battery. The voltages and currents are measured on the secondary voltage and current transformers at 110 VAC. To successfully complete these operations, we built a system based on the PXI-1052, a 4-slot PXI chassis with eight slots for SCXI modules, so that we could make inputs at higher levels than with the standard PXI system. To overcome the high power consumption of the tripping coils, the digital outputs controlling the breakers interface with a programmable digital protection relay designed to control medium voltage elements. Digital outputs of the PXI connect to digital inputs of the relay. When the protection relay is activated, the protection functions can be removed from the control system leaving computation power for the second challenge: quickly estimating the phase angle. We used a LabVIEW program to optimize the performance of the system. This program runs on a remote computer at a safe distance from the trailer, which communicates with the chassis by TCP protocol. The chassis transmits the states of the circuit breakers and executes the order given by the user. If the communication is lost or if the application crashes, the system puts all the switches and circuit breakers into a safe position. The design of the new user interface makes for easy operation of the voltage dip generator. The operator can maneuver each switch or circuit-breaker by pushing the open or close button; undesired operations are automatically prevented by interlocking functions included in the program. To generate voltage dips, the operator can set different parameters such as the duration, the active power range, the reactive power range, and the phase angle. Once the sequence is started, the system waits for the defined conditions to be met before closing and opening the short circuit breaker. Active and reactive powers and phase angle are computed in real time by a specifically designed algorithm. Closing very accurately on a specific phase angle requires a relatively high sampling rate (several kHz). The same system is also used to record the signal during the voltage dip tests, and the system saves the time series in IEEE COMTRADE format. The postprocessing and automatic generation of the report are interfaced with a stand-alone application. In less than one minute after test completion, the customer can know if the wind turbine is compliant with the requirements and low-voltage ride through capabilities set by the transmission network operator. Conclusion The control system for a mobile voltage dip generator has been tested and implemented in the field with three main advantages over its predecessor: a friendly graphical user interface, logic programming to avoid undesired operations, and new capabilities such as phase angle control. The customer can know, less than one minute after the test, if the wind turbine complies with the requirements of the grid operator. The versatility of this design will adapt easily to new customers’ requirements in the future.  
  • Author(s):Kurt D. Osborne - Ford Motor Company Products:Execution Trace Toolkit, SCXI-1124, LabVIEW, DIAdem, cRIO-9022, FPGA Module, PXI-1010, PXI-8186 RT, cRIO-9012, Control Design and Simulation Module, SCXI-1160, PXI-8464/1 Series 2, SCXI-1162HV, Real-Time Module The Challenge:Developing an electronic control unit (ECU) for an automotive fuel cell system capable of demonstrating significant progress toward achieving a commercially viable fuel cell system design that is competitive with conventional internal combustion-based power trains. The Solution:Designing and implementing a real-time embedded control system for an automotive fuel cell system using the NI LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA modules and an NI CompactRIO controller, and verifying the system with LabVIEW and a real-time PXI chassis hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) system. "Ford has a long history with NI, and we have used LabVIEW to develop various aspects of every fuel cell electric vehicle that we produce and to successfully design and implement a real-time embedded control system for an automotive FCS."At the Forefront of InnovationSince 1992, Ford Motor Company has been dedicated to fuel cell system (FCS) R&D. Despite our significant progress, several deficiencies have prevented FCSs from becoming a commercially viable technology that is competitive with conventional internal combustion-based power trains. Our attempt to eliminate these deficiencies began by demonstrating significant improvements in areas such as system lifetime and freeze starting.In conjunction with our groundbreaking FCS design, we developed a new control system using rapid prototyping. Changes occurred during development while the design team iteratively refined the design through verification following the systems engineering V-model. These design changes often affected the interfaces between subsystem components such as the air compressor control module and the fuel cell control module. Even though ECUs have been widely successful for production vehicles, better choices for rapid prototyping control systems exist. Instead of modifying production ECU I/O circuits to adapt to interface changes, we used CompactRIO to rapidly prototype our fuel control unit (FCU). With CompactRIO, we quickly adapted to the design changes and experimented with new sensors and actuators for novel design solutions.We implemented an HIL system comprised of an NI PXI-8186 controller in an NI PXI-1010 combination PXI/SCXI chassis with associated PXI and SCXI I/O cards, including a controller area network (CAN), to verify the control strategy functionality embedded in the CompactRIO controller. This HIL system, implemented with LabVIEW Real-Time, has a graphical user interface (GUI) that provides manual and automatic input stimuli to the ECU to validate the control strategy operation while displaying the CompactRIO I/O feedback on the HIL monitor. The HIL system validation was very successful, and we only had to make minor changes to the strategy after the CompactRIO began controlling the actual FCS plant.Performance When You Need ItAutomotive power train control demands real-time performance. To provide the determinism required for real-time performance, the LabVIEW Real-Time Module delivers a commercial real-time operating system (RTOS) for the selected controller. When we switched from using an NI cRIO-9002 to an NI cRIO-9012 embedded real-time controller to boost performance, LabVIEW Real-Time automatically switched from a Pharlap RTOS to a VxWorks RTOS. With NI products working to support the RTOS implementation, our team focused on delivering a fuel cell control system instead of RTOS details.The FCS controller receives various inputs from sensors, actuators, and other controllers and systems within a vehicle. A CAN, now ubiquitous in automotive designs, transmits and receives a significant majority of the I/O within and outside the FCS. During laboratory testing, we simulated master vehicle control by an extensive test stand based on LabVIEW, which communicated via CAN to the slave FCS controller. For these reasons, CompactRIO CAN support is critical for automotive FCS applications. When we needed more performance for our CAN implementation, NI quickly provided a recently developed method for supporting CAN on the faster, VxWorks-based platforms, such as the cRIO-9012. In addition to enabling the use of the CAN channel API, the new CAN frame channel conversion library was even faster than before, thus reducing our development time.NI products have always been well-known for supporting an open system architecture. NI Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) easily imported CAN message databases developed in a tool by another CAN manufacturer. This feature allowed us to exchange databases without translating or recoding CAN message databases.Seamless Technology IntegrationFor this project, we implemented the control strategy with the LabVIEW Professional Development System in conjunction with two add-on modules. First, we used the LabVIEW Real-Time Module to implement the software in real time to program the real-time controller. Next, we implemented the FPGA-based software using the LabVIEW FPGA Module to conduct all of the I/O including CAN. Both of these add-on LabVIEW modules seamlessly integrated into the LabVIEW development environment, and graphical differencing was one of the essential LabVIEW features that we used.In addition, the NI Real-Time Execution Trace Toolkit quickly became an important tool to help solve chronometric issues. Using this toolkit, we found areas of the real-time embedded code that were not performing as expected, and then optimized the code to ensure correct real-time performance. Without a product like the NI Real-Time Execution Trace Toolkit, we would have needed expensive external test equipment such as in-circuit emulators and logic analyzers.While some developers have a difficult experience when implementing version control, due to the excellent integration of LabVIEW with Microsoft Visual SourceSafe version control program, which we used during software development, we successfully and seamlessly integrated version control. With a simple right-click on the source VI icon in the LabVIEW project window, we can display a list of functions such as file check-in or check-out. Easy-to-use software is critical to gain developer support for version management software.LabVIEW Everywhere – Our Motivation for Using LabVIEWWe developed the control strategy for our first internally designed FCS using LabVIEW for several additional reasons. First, the number of developers required to implement our standard software development process exceeded the available resources. However, by using LabVIEW, we had a larger pool of resources because several engineers already had experience with LabVIEW and others had been trained. Second, with the natural synergy between the software developed for the rapid prototyping controller and the test stands, which were already developed using LabVIEW, VIs could be shared, the development environments were the same, and the hardware was similar.Third, because modular LabVIEW VIs were backward compatible, we reused VIs that were developed more than 10 years ago as a basis for our HIL system. In addition, our laboratory test system, based on NI hardware and LabVIEW, easily stored test data in the technical data management streaming (TDMS) file format for analysis in NI DIAdem data management software. Along with normal data visualization, we used DIAdem to rapidly and automatically search through multiple data files to find any performance anomalies and graph them with annotations. Finally, NI technical support – a key criterion for success – has always been the best in the industry.Ford has a long history with NI, and we have used LabVIEW to develop various aspects of every fuel cell electric vehicle that we produce and to successfully design and implement a real-time embedded control system for an automotive FCS.
  • Current Project: Taking a conventional locomotive (rail power – known as a green goat). Commercial version consists of a large battery and a diesel generator. They are replacing the generator with a fuel cell power plant. It’s job is to move cars around in a rail yard. They are using LV and a cRIO controller to be the control system of this power plant. cRIO communicates to the locomotive controller and all the following aspects. Lube oil systemAir handlingHydrogen storage systemPrimary and secondary cooling systemPower conversion system (DC/DC)Measurements Include:pressure sensors (coolenttemperature (thermisters)air mass flow meter (rate into the fuel cells)coolent flow through the fuel cellsactuators (proporational valves they have to position) Challenges for operating a fuel cell power plant:regulating cooling is difficult b/c the operating temp and ambient temp are so close so you need large radiators (unlike a car engine which is much hotter than ambient)combination of open loop and close loop controlopen loop (gets you about 80% there, closed loop gives you the other 20%)pretty complicated math they have to dowhen producing this much power we need to run our cooling system at about this rateWhy they chose NI and CompactRIO over a PLC:The engineer had much experience with PLCs. He chose CompactRIO because: -process control is pretty much the same -signal conditioning is similar -cRIO gives you much for flexibility and control of the application programming. Much more number crunching.
  • Author(s):Grant Gothing - Bloomy Controls Products:TB-2627, LabVIEW, PXI-4071, PXI-1044, PXI-8105, TB-2706, PXI-2527, PXI-6514, PXI-4110, PXI-6221 The Challenge:Designing and developing a flexible, cost-effective production test system for several designs of battery balancing and management circuit boards with system requirements including simulating a pack of lithium-ion batteries (up to 12 series cells), performing high-accuracy voltage and current measurements, and communicating with the unit under test (UUT) via serial and/or a controller area network (CAN). The Solution:Creating a general test system based on the NI PXI platform and the NI LabVIEW development environment that uses modular instrumentation, including six NI PXI-4110 power supplies to simulate battery packs, and provides the flexibility and accuracy needed to test multiple products. The rapid growth of the hybrid-electric vehicle industry presents many new opportunities for product testing and measurement. Many of these opportunities require production-level test systems with short design times, high accuracy, and strong reliability. One opportunity involves the production testing of battery management systems (BMSs) for lithium-ion battery packs, which power plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). BMSs handle all of the monitoring, control, and safety circuitry of battery packs and control systems, including accurately monitoring cell charges, balancing voltages between cells to maintain a constant voltage across packs, managing charging and discharging, and protecting the system from over-voltage and over-current conditions for packs of up to 12 cells in series. In addition, BMSs monitor system temperatures, handle system power saving by entering sleep modes to reduce current draw, and communicate with external controllers to provide system feedback. While there are several types of battery management boards, including individual pack balancing and monitoring boards and system control boards, we refer to all types as BMSs in this document.BMS Features and RequirementsBecause the BMS is important to the safety, performance, and longevity of PHEV batteries, it is critical that each manufactured board perform to strict specifications. Cell voltages must be monitored to millivolt accuracy, safety faults must occur properly, and the BMS must draw current from individual cells to balance voltages across a whole pack. Functional testing of these processes requires a highly accurate, flexible, and strong test system capable of simulating packs of cells, applying system voltages, measuring cell and system-level voltages and currents, and communicating with the UUT.System Hardware DesignBy starting with the Bloomy ComtrolsPXI-based universal test system, we produced a flexible, high-accuracy base platform consisting of a standard mass interconnect capable of testing multiple models of BMS circuit boards by using interchangeable fixtures. We centered our system around six NI PXI-4110 triple-output programmable DC power supplies, which we used to simulate a pack of up to 12 lithium-ion cells.We also multiplexed a high-accuracy NI PXI-4071 digital multimeter (DMM) to measure voltages within the required millivolt specifications, and added an NI PXI-6221 M Series data acquisition DAQ module to provide analog outputs, TTL digital I/O, and higher-speed analog input measurements. We implemented the NI PXI-6514 industrial digital I/O module to read switches and actuate fixture relays. In addition to the PXI hardware, we used fixed power supplies and programmable high-voltage and high-current supplies to provide additional system power as required by the testing specifications.Finally, we provided a USB connection to the fixtures to allow flexible addition of other UUT-specific communications and peripheral hardware on a per-model basis. We housed all of our hardware in a standard 19 in. rack. The test rack provided a system capable of making any measurement and supplying any source required by a BMS board.We also used a standard fixture receiver to permit several different BMS designs to be tested using the same base hardware. Each fixture type was electronically keyed, guaranteeing that the correct test code would run for the attached fixture. By using interchangeable fixtures, we greatly reduced system cost and lead times through sharing key instrumentation hardware among UUTs. After we built the base system, we could quickly design and build new fixtures and their associated test software.Series Cell Simulation Based on the PXI-4110To simulate a pack of 12 lithium-ion cells, we linked the isolated ±20 V legs of the six PXI-4110 power supplies together in series; each leg simulated a single cell of the pack. During cell voltage testing, the power supplies applied individual cell voltages between 2 and 4 V for a combined pack voltage of up to 48 V. Then, the software polled the UUT for its reported voltages seen at each cell; we compared these voltages to the voltages measured by the DMM in the test system to determine UUT accuracy. For tests measuring each cell’s balancing current, the 16-bit readback resolution of the PXI-4110 supplies was vital because it eliminated the need for external shunt or Hall effect current. Overall, the PXI-4110 was an excellent choice for this application because of its low ripple, fast response, high resolution, and ease of control.System Software DesignWe wrote the test software using LabVIEW and contained all test parameters in a configuration file to allow the customer to update, tighten, or loosen test specifications without making software changes. In addition, we stored all of the data acquisition channels and tasks in a separate configuration file, which allowed hardware or wiring changes to be made without affecting the underlying software. Also, because the user interface is designed for a manufacturing environment, it requires minimal operator interaction and the test technician simply opens the safety lid of the fixture, scans the barcode serial number of the unit to test, then closes the fixture for the test to start during standard operation. When testing is complete, the test result is shown, test data is logged to file, and any failed tests are highlighted for the technician.Furthermore, we delivered all software with debugging and diagnostic modes, which provided engineers more manual control over the system. Test engineers can enable the debug mode to run smaller subsets of the main test to narrow down the possible causes of a failure. The diagnostics control screen provided access to all aspects of the system pertaining to the attached fixture. This allowed the engineer to manually read all system voltages and currents, control all power supplies, actuate relays, and communicate with the UUT. An Accurate and Flexible Testing SolutionThe NI modular instruments and LabVIEW software used in the Bloomy Controls BMS functional test system was critical in designing an accurate, easy-to-use, and flexible system. The six PXI-4110 programmable DC power supplies were ideal for simulating packs of lithium-ion cells. To date, we have delivered three base systems and nine fixtures including seven unique fixture models. We delivered two of the base systems directly to contract manufacturers, one of which is currently located in China.Our experience with BMS testing allows for the rapid development of new test systems with low risk and short lead times. By using a modular approach and interchangeable components, the base system can accommodate testing a wide range of BMS models. This method reduces cost and new fixture design time and makes it cost-effective to test even small quantities such as R&D prototypes. In summary, the NI PXI platform coupled with the LabVIEW development environment delivered the ideal tools to quickly design and build a BMS test platform that is flexible enough to test multiple customer products, and accurate enough to meet or exceed BMS testing requirements.
  • Based on NI tools, ELCOM,a.s. implemented a power quality analyzer that includes a set of instruments, capable of performing all necessary electric power measurements. We also had to take in consideration the expandability of the system to encompass the latest IEC and EN standards when design measurement and data processing algorithms.On-line case study:

Renewable Energy Case Study Slide Deck Renewable Energy Case Study Slide Deck Presentation Transcript

  • Renewable EnergyCase Study Slide Deck
  • Solar Case Studies
  • Solar Panel Manufacturingand Quality Test
    Automated, end-of-line test system that performs IV characterization on every panel
    Increased points on IV curve from 30 to 2000, for more precise calibration parameters
    Received industry award for providing the best advertized-to-actual performance ratio
    Other applications includeproduction line automationand optimizing the silicon purification process
    Implemented test system with NI CompactRIO, S Series, and LabVIEW
  • Solar Inverter Prototyping
    Prototype solar inverters to prove and iterate on new designs
    Modular hardware allows for quick iterations of designs
    Used NI CompactRIO, and LabVIEW
  • Calibration of Heliostats forConcentrated Solar Power Plants
    Real-time monitoring and calibration of 1879 heliostats (large mirrors)
    Capture images from cameras located more than 500 meters away
    Perform image analysis to determinethe projection of the solar disc for each heliostat
    Adjust the heliostat movements by sending position instructions to the mechanical control systems through Modbus protocol
    Based on NI LabVIEW and Image Acquisition and Analysis platforms
  • Automated Testing of EvacuatedTube Solar Collectors
    Created a solar simulator for year round, inside test of solar collectors
    Control a 2-axis motion system to facilitatereal world sun movement
    Precision control of temperature and mass flow rate of system fluid
    Monitor and log data from dozens of sensors
    Also perform outside tests over long periods (months and years), with data being collected from over
    Implemented alarms and safety systems for both test rigs
    Based on NI FieldPoint and LabVIEW
  • Wind Case Studies
  • Dynamic Test of Wind Turbine Control System Software
    Created a real-time hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test system for new software releases of turbine controllers
    Simulate the behavior of the real wind turbine components through hundreds of I/O signals and multiple communication protocols
    Utilized NI FPGA technology to implement wind turbine protocols and sensor simulations
    Generates automatic test result documentation and provides test case traceability
    Scalable solution that will provide flexibility and expandability to meet future technical requirements
    Based on NI PXI and LabVIEW
  • Embedded Wind Turbine Control and Monitoring
    • Embedded monitoring and control of 150 kW turbines
    • Monitoring temperature, wind speed and direction, generator status, encoders and more
    • Controlling hydraulic drives through CANopen network
    • UsingNI CompactRIO and LabVIEW
  • Wind Turbine Grid Compliance Testing
    On-site testing of wind farms and electrical grid integration for certification to stay online during grid faults
    Create electrical shorts up to 36 KV to simulate faults
    Switch relays at specified phases of power with millisecond resolution
    High-voltage DAQ inputs monitor power quality during electrical shorts
    Based on NI PXI and LabVIEW
  • Fuel Cell Case Studies
  • Prototyping and Testing a FuelCell Control Unit (FCU)
    • Prototyped a real-time embedded control system for a fuel cell vehicle with NI CompactRIO and LabVIEW
    • Modular hw allowed quick iterations through design changes and allowed experiments with new sensors and actuators
    • Verified the FCU with a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) system based on NI PXI and LabVIEW
  • Prototyping a Fuel Cell Controland Monitoring System
    Prototyped control system for the world’s first zero emissions locomotive
    Monitoring and controlling the operation of a 250 kW COTS fuel cell power plant
    Measure and control pressure, temperature, air mass and coolent flow, proportional valves, etc.
    Communicate with and send instructions to power plant through CAN network
    Interface with the train engineer through a networked HMI
    Based on NI CompactRIO and LabVIEW
  • Functional Test of Battery Management Systems for HEVs
    • Production test system for several designs of battery balancing and management circuit boards
    • Simulate a pack of lithium-ion batteries (up to 12 series cells)
    • Performing high-accuracy voltage and current measurements
    • Based on NI PXI and LabVIEW
  • Power Quality Monitoring and Analysis
  • Power Quality Analysis System
    Turn-key power quality analysis systems based on National Instruments CompactRIO and LabVIEW platforms
    Functions include: FFT and Vector analyzers, Power Flow monitor, Flicker meter, EN50160 voltage meter, Half-period RMS monitor, and more
    Complies with international power quality standards: IEC61000-4-30, IEC61000-4-15, and IEC61000-4-7
    Local or networked storage for distributed monitoring and off-line analysis
    Software-based expandability to comply with the latest international standards or feature requests