Novel Multilevel Converter for Variable-Speed Medium Voltage Switched Reluctance Motor Drives

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


A novel multilevel converter that is especially suited for high speed multi-megawatt switched reluctance motor drives operating at the medium voltage level is presented. The drive is capable of variable speed, four-quadrant operation. Each phase leg of the converter contains an arbitrary number of cascaded cells connected in series with the phase winding. Each cell contains a half-bridge chopper connected to a capacitor. The converter is named the cascaded chopper cell converter. The modular nature of the converter with the ability to add redundant cells makes it very reliable, which is a key requirement for medium voltage drive applications. A comprehensive control algorithm that overcomes the challenges of balancing and controlling cell capacitor voltages is also proposed. A suitable startup algorithm to limit startup current and switching losses, as well as ensure that cell capacitor voltages remain controlled at startup, is suggested. Details of the drive design such as component sizing and control parameter selection are also discussed. A detailed simulation model is developed and explained, and simulation results are provided for primary validation. Operation with standard current and speed control is first simulated. Then a scheme that gives way to a controller that operates the drive in single-pulse mode is developed and presented. This single-pulse control scheme controls the turn-on and turn-off angles, as well as the energization voltage level, in order to obtain high efficiency. Practical considerations related to the drive such as reliability, efficiency, and cost considerations are also discussed. Finally, a detailed comparison of the proposed converter to another competing converter is performed. Besides its scalability to high voltages and powers, the reliability and efficiency of the proposed converter makes it also a candidate for sub-megawatt applications requiring minimum downtime, or any application where high efficiency or improved performance is required.

A small part of this work is also dedicated to brushless dc machines. Control methods for a new converter for brushless dc machines are proposed and verified via simulation. The main advantage of this converter with the proposed control is that it allows exact control of torque or speed up to twice the rated speed, without resorting to current phase advancing or other flux-weakening techniques.



Switched reluctance motor, power converter, variable speed drives, multilevel converter, multi-megawatt applications, single-pulse control, brushless dc motor