Using high-bandwidth voltage amplifier to emulate grid-following inverter for AC microgrid dynamic studies

Tuomas Messo, Roni Luhtala, Tomi Roinila, Erik de Jong, Rick Scharrenberg, Tommaso Caldognetto, Paolo Mattavelli, Yin Sun, Alejandra Fabian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


AC microgrid is an attractive way to energize local loads due to remotely located renewable generation. The AC microgrid can conceptually comprise several grid-forming and grid-following power converters, renewable energy sources, energy storage and local loads. To study the microgrid dynamics, power-hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL)-based test setups are commonly used since they provide high flexibility and enable testing the performance of real converters. In a standard PHIL setup, different components of the AC microgrid exist as real commercial devices or electrical emulators or, alternatively, can be simulated using real-time simulators. For accurate, reliable and repeatable results, the PHIL-setup should be able to capture the dynamics of the microgrid loads and sources as accurately as possible. Several studies have shown how electrical machines, dynamic RLC loads, battery storages and photovoltaic and wind generators can be emulated in a PHIL setup. However, there are no studies discussing how a three-phase grid-following power converter with its internal control functions should be emulated, regardless of the fact that grid-following converters (e.g., photovoltaic and battery storage inverters) are the basic building blocks of AC microgrids. One could naturally use a real converter to represent such dynamic load. However, practical implementation of a real three-phase converter is much more challenging and requires special knowledge. To simplify the practical implementation of microgrid PHIL-studies, this paper demonstrates the use of a commercial high-bandwidth voltage amplifier as a dynamic three-phase power converter emulator. The dynamic performance of the PHIL setup is evaluated by identifying the small-signal impedance of the emulator with various control parameters and by time-domain step tests. The emulator is shown to yield the same impedance behavior as real three-phase converters. Thus, dynamic phenomena such as harmonic resonance in the AC microgrid can be studied in the presence of grid-following converters.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Issue number379
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • DC-AC power converters
  • impedance emulation
  • stability analysis
  • power-hardware-in-the-loop

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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