INDIANAPOLIS — The Battery Innovation Center, a testing and evaluation lab for energy storage systems in southern Indiana, has announced its commitment in becoming the first commercially accredited test laboratory for grid devices, systems and applications to certify interoperability conformance to the Open Field Message Bus framework standard.

The OpenFMB interoperability framework is a standard ratified in 2016 by the North American Energy Standards Board. It enables traditional grid-edge operational assets and distributed energy resources — such as solar photovoltaics, energy storage systems and microgrids — to quickly and securely communicate with each other in the field regardless of each device’s local communications protocols.

This interoperability framework will help the energy grid operate more efficiently — delivering better performance to customers and grid operators alike.

“Battery Innovation Center is building upon current collaborations with Underwriters Laboratories, MESA’s open standards for energy storage and others by adding OpenFMB to our portfolio of standards validation services,” said Ben Wrightsman, president and CEO of the Battery Innovation Center. “OpenFMB provides consistency in communications and controls at a level not previously seen in energy storage systems. By leveraging the OpenFMB interoperability framework combined with industry expertise, we can ensure better quality products and capabilities for end markets and customers.”

OpenFMB has been piloted over the last several years at several North American utilities and National Labs, and the OpenFMB Users Group has recently initiated plans this year to launch a testing and certification program under the Utility Communications Architecture International Users Group. Duke Energy and Open Energy Solutions have been active in helping lead the development and adoption of the OpenFMB standard from the inception.

"I am pleased to see a formal commitment by the Battery Innovation Center to provide an accredited lab environment for OpenFMB stakeholders,” said Dr. Stuart Laval, Director of Technology Development at Duke Energy, and co-chair of the OpenFMB Users Group. “This will provide utilities, vendors and other OpenFMB users with access to a quality facility to implement, validate and certify their interoperability solutions."

Open Energy Solutions Inc. Director of Cybersecurity and Standards Development Larry Lackey stated, “As a co-author of the OpenFMB standard, I am excited to be working with the Battery Innovation Center to make this a reality. Testing and certification will fill a void that exists today to ensure that products that claim conformance to OpenFMB are truly interoperable.”

With the certification lab now located at the BIC and the users group providing marketing outreach to industry, it will accelerate education and awareness of OpenFMB as interoperable and not competing with other standards.

“As the leader of UCAIug’s Interoperability and Testing Certification Authority, it is great to hear that the Battery Innovation Center is planning to pursue the necessary UCAIug and ISO-17025 accreditations for their planned OpenFMB test laboratory,” said Herbert Falk, vice president of testing at UCAIug. “We also look forward to their participation in the UCAIug OpenFMB users group testing subcommittee.”

“As a member of the Energy Systems Network, user of the Battery Innovation Center and investor in OES, we see this collaboration as a strategic step for OpenFMB acceptance within the industry,” said Koki Sato, General Manager of Corporate Development at ITOCHU Corporation.

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