Simulation for generation

Electromagnetic system simulation software made by Vector Fields is being used to design an ultra-efficient superconducting power generator.


Electromagnetic system simulation software made by Vector Fields, based in Kidlington, Oxford, is being used to design an ultra-efficient superconducting power generator.



Vector Fields’ Opera electromagnetic simulation tool is helping the members of the Hydrogenie project to engineer a compact hydroelectric power generator. The new generator could offer up to 99 per cent efficiency by exploiting developments in high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials.



Led by Converteam, the Hydrogenie partners – EOn Wasserkraft, KEMA, SilesianUniversity of Technology, Stirling Cryogenics and Refrigeration, Trithor and Vector Fields – are developing the technology for a 1.25MW generator that will be field tested at the Hirschaid power plant in Germany. The €3.44m project is being part funded by the EU.



The hydroelectric generator being designed is a complex rotating machine with 28 poles. Electromagnetic simulation technology is being used to shorten the design cycle and characterise operating behaviour before construction begins.



The accurate simulation of such a large dynamic machine in 3D would normally require a restrictive amount of time and computing power. Vector Fields has simplified this by producing a version of its Opera tool that exploits the machine’s rotational symmetry-and analyses just a segment of the design. The company is also helping the designers to generate the initial models they will investigate during the early stages of the detailed design process.



This approach is bringing the time required for the precision finite element analysis simulation of the machine’s dynamics down to a day or so on a standard desktop PC, giving Converteam the means to create virtual prototypes quickly, and optimise their design. Vector Fields’ Opera tool also supports ‘multi physics’ simulation, which can be used to explore how the generator design concept will perform under the range of mechanical load conditions.