The Conference on Design and Architectures for Signal and Image Processing

16 - 18 October, 2019, Montréal, Canada

Keynote by Jean Bélanger

Jean Bélanger
Co-founder, CEO and CTO of OPAL-RT.


Title: The importance of FPGAs for the Real-Time Simulation of Micro-Grid and Distributed Energy Generation Systems and Electrical Vehiclesf


The importance of FPGAs for the Real-Time Simulation of Micro-Grid and Distributed Energy Generation Systems and Electrical Vehicles

In the last half-century, we have witnessed wholesale and essential changes in the ways we structure and conceive of generation, transmission and distribution systems.
• Generation systems have evolved from high-inertia, schedulable, large rotating machines to low-inertia, power-electronics-based, small and distributed non schedulable renewable energy systems;
• Transmission systems have evolved from traditional AC transmission circuits and local protection systems to AC-DC transmission networks equipped with fast power electronics controllers (FACTS). Sophisticated wide-area protection and control schemes and communication systems are both used to maximize security, and power transfer capability to reduce rights-of-way;
• Distribution systems can no longer be represented by simple passive and dynamic load equivalents. Distributed energy generation and storage systems may now be integrated anywhere on the grid, including at customer sites. Each customer can potentially become a de-centralized ‘prosumer’ of sorts, with photovoltaics (PVs), batteries, and plug-in electrical vehicles.
As an unavoidable consequence of DER introduction, the sheer number of fast power electronics subsystems interacting both between themselves and with the main grids will then also increase dramatically. One of the challenges is related to the capability to simulate these complex systems in real-time or faster than real-time to assess the total performance and security. Multi-FPGA based simulator will play a major role to meet the speed required to simulate fast electromagnetic transients. Simulation time steps between 250 nanos to 2 – 3 micros is required, which is not possible with standard processors. The same challenged are encountered in the design and test of electrical vehicles, more-electrical-aircrafts, electrical ships and trains as well as for large multi-drive systems.
This presentation will discuss challenges and solutions using several fast FPGAs to meet the needs of fast real-time simulation of power electronic systems.

Speaker’s biography

As CEO and co-founder of Opal-RT Technologies Inc., Mr. Bélanger defines the vision and corporate direction of the company and steers its efforts in research and development. OPAL-RT has now more than 200 customers and 200 employees located around the world.

Prior to co-founding Opal-RT in 1997, he worked at Hydro Quebec for 25 years, where he was one of the main design engineers of the 765-kV James Bay transmission system and the real-time simulator used to design this very large transmission system. In 1978, he led the commercialization of Hydro-Quebec’s simulation services around the world, designing and promoting Hydro-Quebec’s electric network simulators.

From 1993 to 1996, he designed and delivered several large-scale simulators to a number of leading companies worldwide, including Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Toshiba and EPRI (China). Subsequently, he co-founded TEQSIM, the Hydro-Quebec subsidiary dedicated to the commercialization of real-time simulation technologies. 

Over the course of his distinguished career, Mr. Bélanger has actively participated in, and served at numerous committees of ACE (Association Canadienne de l’Électricité), CIGRE  (Conférence Internationale des Grands Réseaux Électriques) and IEEE.   Mr. Bélanger is an electrical engineer (Laval University, Quebec) with a Masters degree in Power Systems from Ecole Polytechnique of Montreal and a member of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.