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Field Test in the Lab

The building energy systems of tomorrow are becoming more complex and diverse. With our hardware-in-the-loop process, we bring an entire building energy system into our laboratories and thus combine the field's advantages with the laboratory's benefits. 

With our hardware-in-the-loop approach for building energy systems, real hardware is coupled with dynamic simulation models in real-time. The boundary between hardware and simulation is freely selectable. However, the energy conversion system's complex components, such as a heat pump or a PV inverter, are installed as real hardware in the laboratory. Components that are not part of the technical supply system, such as the building envelope, can be represented by a dynamic simulation. After coupling the existing hardware with the modeled software, the states of the components are interdependent. If an air-water heat pump is in a defrost cycle, for example, the rooms in the building cool down over time. This means that highly dynamic tests can be carried out under a wide range of boundary conditions and with high repeatability.

This means that prototypes of heat pumps, for example, can be subjected to dynamic and realistic tests at an early stage of development. The early detection of weak points reduces development costs and results in robustly functioning systems. bereits im frühen Entwicklungsstadium dynamische und realitätsnahe Tests unterzogen werden. Das frühzeitige Aufdecken von Schwachstellen reduziert Entwicklungskosten und resultiert in robust funktionierende Systeme.  

In addition to critical economic and ecological figures relating to the energy conversion system, our infrastructure also allows us to evaluate parameters from the simulation, such as user comfort. This way, the hardware-in-the-loop process evaluates the interaction between the heat source and the heat sink. This makes it possible, for example, to measure the hydraulic integration of the systems and compare different concepts.  

Annual key figures are often of particular importance and present laboratories with major challenges, which we meet scientifically. Our methodology uses a mathematical clustering process to determine representative days that a building energy system is subject to over the year. Using our hardware-in-the-loop approach enables us to determine annual key figures in just a few days.