Fuel Cell Simulation Improves Test Efficiency to Meet Hot Demand for Hydrogen Energy

The hydrogen energy industry has earned its place in the spotlight of renewable energy transition besides lithium batteries, solar power, and wind power. For example, Japan has announced its Basic Hydrogen Strategy, pledging to realize a hydrogen-based society, while the EU established the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance. This goes to show how the global market has highly anticipated the development of hydrogen energy. Car manufacturers are currently not only accelerating the application of hydrogen fuel cell technology in EVs (electric vehicles) but also providing power to telecom stations in remote areas lacking such infrastructure.

The fuel cell itself does not directly store electrical energy; it is produced by externally provided hydrogen. Compared to lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells provide advantages such as no need to charge, quick fuel supply, and continuous electricity output. The figure below shows the internal structure of a hydrogen vehicle. As demonstrated, a DC-to-DC converter must be connected to the output of the hydrogen engine to provide stable power to the e-propulsion system.

Hydrogen Vehicle Powertrain▲Hydrogen Vehicle Powertrain

Because the fuel cell output does not follow a fixed voltage value, the voltage varies with the current magnitude. Polarization curves can display the relationship between the voltage and current. Developing a DC-to-DC converter requires a complicated test bench with hydrogen fuel cells, which adds up to the investment. When using a general DC power supply, however, the output is only a constant voltage, which makes it impossible to verify the effect of the fuel cell voltage change on the DC-to-DC performance. Therefore, engineers need a DC power supply that can simulate the output characteristics of a fuel cell with its polarization V-I curve.

Chroma launched the new series of 62000D Bidirectional DC Power Supplies. Using high-speed DSP control technology and energy-saving SiC power semiconductors, the supplies offer fast and dynamic output. The 62000D Soft Panel, Chroma’s proprietary software, contains the actual battery cell V-I curves, allowing users to adjust each parameter of the fuel cell stack. Such a specialized fuel cell simulator will greatly reduce the costs for testing.

▲Fuel Cell Simulation Function

Fuel cell simulation functions on the Soft Panel:

  1. Basic mode contains standard built-in single-cell polarization V-I curves. Users can easily set the number of cells connected in series and the current density area to replicate the output characteristics of the fuel cell supply equipment.
  2. Table mode lets users import the polarization V-I curve data for simulation. Conveniently and quickly verify the performance of different characteristic curves on the DC to DC converter.

Take the operation of a fuel cell supply with a 90KW voltage range of 180~360V and a current range of 0~500A as an example. Chroma 62000D series can integrate five 62180D-600 models for parallel operation, providing 600V, 600A, and 90KW output capacity, to simulate the characteristics of a hydrogen fuel cell supply with a wide voltage range and large current.

For more details on these and other products, please visit Chroma’s website and leave your inquiry. We are happy to be of service.

Bidirectional DC Power Supply
Chroma 62000D Series

Chroma 8610 Battery Pack HIL Simulation for EV Safety

Along the recent substantial growth in the sales of electric vehicles, a number of spontaneous fire and explosion incidents have also been reported around the world. Automakers spend plenty of manpower to verify the battery packs, but this obviously is limited to the charge/discharge life and communication tests of common regulations and fails to cover the complex actual operation of a complete vehicle. Therefore, key players throughout the automotive industry have started to vigorously promote the ISO 26262 standard. A large share of car manufacturers and suppliers has since implemented this regulation on functional safety in road vehicles.

In ISO 26262, the product development at the system level is expanded to the hardware and software levels (as shown in the figure below). The standard stipulates the following flow for safety requirements of the parts: Functional Safety Requirement → Technical Safety Requirement → Hardware Safety Requirement → Software Safety Requirement. Regardless of the ASIL level on functional safety integrity, each verification process requires hardware-in-the-loop and fault injection tests to ensure accurate safety mechanisms at the vehicle level and effective failure coverage.

▲ISO 26262 Overview

Chroma ATE proudly presents the 8610 Battery Pack Power HIL (Hardware-In-the-Loop) Testbed. The test system not only realizes the required basic functions and signal control tests but also includes verification of the actual power behavior. Compared with traditional signal-level HIL solutions, Chroma 8610 offers more complete coverage of the EV high-power components testing range. The equipment helps users to perform more thorough verification and validation on the right side of the vehicle’s standard V-shaped development process for components such as battery packs and modules, battery management systems, and cooling and heating systems. This includes a variety of compound working condition tests on the system-level functions of the battery pack. Users can then discover and correct problems early to reduce development costs and improve test efficiency.

Chroma 8610 integrates a Fault Injection Unit to perform open and short circuit fault tests on various control and communication signals of the test object. Combined with vehicle behavior simulations such as dynamic discharge, insulation resistance change, and static charging, the testbed can even simulate and verify the battery pack under the most complex and high-risk complete vehicle operations without needing the actual vehicle. Chroma 8610 serves to improve the fault injection test requirements in the ISO 26262 process, and as such is conducive to obtaining the ASIL safety level certification.

Fault Injection User Interface
▲Fault Injection User Interface

Together with a Chroma 170X0 series battery charger and discharger, Chroma 8610 can simulate the power system’s dynamic loading and recharging on the battery pack and supports the import of Altair Activate vehicle models and various real-time mathematical models with Simulink model-based design. Integration of international standard driving cycles like NEDC and WLTP serves to verify the dynamic discharge and regeneration performance of car batteries.

Chroma 8610 & 170X0 Series Integration
▲Chroma 8610 & 170X0 Series Integration

Dynamic Discharge & Regeneration User Interface
▲Dynamic Discharge & Regeneration User Interface

For more details on these and other products, please visit Chroma’s website and leave your inquiry. We are happy to be of service.

Battery Pack Integrated Testbed

First-tier AC and DC, ASR-3000 series power supply uninterrupted AC+DC transition

GW Instek, a professional T&M instrument manufacturer, rolled out a new programmable AC and DC power supply – the ASR-3000 series on May 5th, 2021, augmenting the existing GW Instek AC power supply family. When designing products, engineers often need to simulate the power states of various countries in the world and they also need to quickly complete the quantification of inrush current when the product is started. More importantly, it is crucial to seamlessly convert output from AC to DC to avoid product downtime problems. The new ASR-3000 series will assist engineers in solving the above practical test and measurement problems to expedite the product launch process.

GW Instek AC power supply family includes: the APS-7000/7000E series and the ASR-2000/3000 series. APS-7000 was specially designed based upon four considerations to strengthen the requirements of various power simulation applications, including 1. For the grid-connected application of new energy, it can conditionally accept reverse current; 2. Supports 600V test requirements; 3. Supports small current measurement from 2mA to 35A; 4. The economical 7000E series with price advantage solves the budget issue. The ASR-2000/3000 series has specially incorporated the DC mode to improve the slow response speed of the DC power supply. Engineers can choose different models according to their needs.

The new ASR-3000 series has four major product advantages:

  1. In the face of the challenge of using server power in new energy power supply, the power simulation function of uninterrupted “seamless transition” of AC and DC transition can expedite research and development verification. For 5G/Network communications equipment DC-DC modules, DC low-voltage test points require large current characteristics. The feature that both AC and DC rated power are full power can significantly reduce the transition time of test equipment so as to accelerate the test.
  2. It has the excellent peak current supply capability of CF=6 (6 times the output current crest factor) to correctly determine the inrush current test, and it can meet the production needs of AC/DC adapters with sufficient transient power.
  3. Allows engineers to directly use the menu method to produce sequential arbitrary waveforms from the power supply. Arbitrary waveform editing sequence control through PC software can also be performed. The test and measurement function can perform simple power analysis.
  4. The voltage output range is wider. The maximum AC output is 400V, and the DC is up to 570V, which can meet the requirements of various voltages in the world.

The ASR-3000 series has three models, including ASR-3200 (2kVA), ASR-3300 (3kVA), and ASR-3400 (4kVA). The main application market is for the energy-saving applications of IDC computer rooms. Other than AC input, the server power supply also has HVDC input. ASR-3000 can fully meet the test requirements of AC and HVDC input. At the same time, it also complies with ODCC (Open Data Center Committee) Project Scorpio standards to expand the scope of engineer product design testing. Other application markets include household appliances, business equipment, medical equipment, vehicle-mounted chargers, UPS and other test applications. The brand-new functional design of the ASR-3000 series meets the needs of the market and will give engineers a different testing experience from the past. 

For more product information: www.gwinstek.com/en-global/products/detail/ASR-3000

Chroma’s HP Multi-coupler Charging Tests Drive Fast EV Charging

Market surveys indicate that, by 2025, there will be over 3 million public charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) globally. New EVs also carry larger capacity batteries in order to reduce the mileage anxiety amongst drivers. Although enabling a larger cruising range, this also necessitates a shortened charging time, thus prompting the rapid development of EV charging stations (EVSE) with DC high-power charging (HPC).

Cost evaluation remains a key factor when automakers and charging equipment manufacturers consider building dedicated public charging stations. In particular, building a DC HPC station is much more expensive than an ordinary AC charging station. Therefore, dual- or multi-coupler DC EVSE are becoming increasingly visible on the market, with advantages including a reduced area needed for the charging station as well as lower hardware and installation costs.

Chroma DC EVSE test systems meet the test requirements of major international standards (most importantly: CHAdeMO from Japan, CSS from Europe and the U.S., and GB/T from China). The flexible hardware configuration can be upgraded according to individual needs and can be integrated with an EV charging interoperability test system. The test architecture is based on the Chroma 8000 ATS with complete automated test functionality. The software contains built-in test cases conform to standard definitions and a user-friendly interface that offers convenient test parameters editing according to the various test requirements.

Watch the video below for a short introduction of the system’s features and interface operation:

Recently, Chroma’s high-power dual-coupler EVSE test solutions have been successfully applied to electric bus manufacturers and charging station suppliers in the industry. Take the 180kW dual-coupler EVSE automated test system as an example, which can simulate a single coupler with 180kW output, but can also charge two at the same time with 90kW. When any abnormal communication or insulation is encountered, the tester will protect the quality of the customer’s product.

Chroma ATE is a world-leading supplier of precision test and measurement instrumentation, automated test systems, intelligent manufacturing systems, and test & automation turnkey solutions. With a wealth of knowledge and skills accumulated over more than 30 years of testing experience in the field of power electronics, we continuously propose test solutions in new energy industries, including EV, microgrid energy storage, and fuel cells. For more details on the products, please visit Chroma’s website and leave your inquiry. We are happy to be of service!