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New software for electrical power quality measurements is now freely available

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An EMPIR project has published two freely available software tools for easy, transparent, sampled power quality measurements

Increasing the amount of electricity from renewables is vital for Europe to meet its target of at least 32% of final energy consumption from these sources by 2030. However, the integration of energy from wind, sun and water has led to new challenges for the electrical power industry. Electricity from renewables can sometimes interact in an unpredictable manner with the electricity already present in the grid, distorting or degrading the flow of electricity, which has led to increased demands for traceable, accurate measurement of electrical power and power quality. Whilst a few National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) have developed methods to address this problem, based on digital sampling techniques, these methods are not generally available and no NMI can offer accredited calibration services for all the required power quality parameters.

EMPIR Research Potential Projects are a special kind of EURAMET project that aim to address this type of problem – by allowing participating organisations to develop basic levels of metrological research expertise in measurement research areas considered to be of national and regional priority. These projects draw together NMIs that are less experienced with NMIs that have greater experience in the field, allowing a level of research cooperation and knowledge transfer not previously achieved under other types of EURAMET projects.

The Research Potential project 15RPT04 TracePQM addressed this ‘knowledge gap’ by developing two new software tools for sampled power and power quality measurements, with built in transparent operation and future expandability. The data acquisition and user interface module of both systems are based on National Instruments software platforms (LabVIEW and LabWINDOWS), whilst the analysis of the sampled data is performed by using of GNU Octave or MATLAB using 12 validated algorithms that generate results along with associated measurement uncertainties.

  • TracePQM WattMeter’s data acquisition is based on LabVIEW and was developed by project partners with CMI as a leader..
     
  • Traceable Power & Power Quality Analyzer’s data acquisition is based on LabWINDOWS/CVI was  developed by project partners with INRIM as a leader.

Providing users with a convenient way to configure digitisers such as Keysight 3458A multimeters (for low frequency set-ups) and NI 5922 digitisers (for high frequency set ups) the new systems allow straightforward data acquisition which can be processed for live, immediate display or saved for later batch processing.

These two tools are freely available for download on GitHub through the project website and are supported by the good practice guide ‘Guide for sampling power and power quality measurements’ developed by the project partners with additional input from the Austrian NMI BEV.

The TracePQM WattMeter software tool has already been used in two other EMPIR projects:

and is currently being investigated for possible application in the EMPIR project:

These ready to use applications will prove an invaluable tool for anyone who needs to make accurate, sampled power and power quality measurements.


This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

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