Hybrid Modular Multilevel Converters for High-AC/Low-DC Medium-Voltage Applications

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With ever-increasing power-density requirements, technologies such as energy storage systems and electric-vehicles can benefit greatly from interfacing medium-voltage (MV)-AC grid like 13.8kV or 30kV using high-AC/low-DC voltage converter. Using modular high-AC/low-DC voltage converter can help increase power-density and efficiency, while reducing total conversion steps and providing flexibility. Full-bridge modular multilevel converters (FB-MMC) and solid-state transformers are existing solutions for such operations, but suffer from limitations of high semiconductor requirements, large submodule capacitors and/or many high-frequency transformers. Three new hybrid-MMC (HMMC) topologies are proposed in this paper as alternative solutions for such high-AC/low-DC voltage operations. Each of the three developed HMMCs utilizes a unique combination of low-frequency high-voltage switches and fast-switching lowvoltage switch based submodules to generate multilevel-AC voltage. HMMCs are compared extensively to state-of-the-art FB-MMC and are shown to have semiconductor savings of over 27%, 38% lower submodule capacitor size, and 53% lower losses for 13.8-kV-AC/6-kV-DC operation. Due to these benefits like higher efficiency, significantly smaller submodule capacitance requirements, and fewer semiconductors, HMMCs can be an excellent option for high-AC/low-DC applications. Practical considerations like snubber and DC split-capacitor requirement are also elaborated for developing and commercializing HMMCs. Comparison results are verified using a 17.5 kW three-phase MV laboratory prototype.



Hybrid modular multilevel converters, modular multilevel converters, medium voltage converter, electric vehicle chargers, energy storage systems, solid state transformer