Variable Ratio Matrix Transformer based LLC Converter for Two-Stage Low-Voltage DC-DC Converter Efficiency Improvement

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Virginia Tech

The low-voltage dc-dc converter (LDC) in electrical vehicles (EVs) is to convert high dc voltage (270V~430V) from traction battery to low dc voltage (12.5V~15.5V) for the vehicle auxiliary systems. Galvanic isolation is required in the LDC due to safety considerations. Three challenges exist in the LDC design: (1) wide regulation range; (2) high output current; (3) thermal management. The single stage solutions, such as phase-shift full-bridge converter and LLC resonant converter, have been widely studied in the past. A matrix transformer is widely adopted in single-stage LDC design to deal with the large current. At last, the low-profile design allows large footprint area for high power density and ease of cooling design. However, the trade-off between wide regulation range and efficiency exists in single-stage LDC design. Recently, a two-stage solution is proposed to achieve high efficiency and wide regulation range at the same time. The fixed turn ratio LLC stage serves as a dc transformer (DCX) to meet the galvanic isolation requirements and PWM dc-dc stage regulates the output voltages. In this thesis, a variable ratio matrix transformer-based LLC converter is proposed for two-stage LDC efficiency improvement. The transformer secondary copper losses are reduced by taking advantage of the adaptive number of element transformers. In addition, the PWM dc-dc stage achieves better efficiency with variable intermediate bus voltage. The operation principle and design considerations are studied in this thesis. The proposed 1600W two-stage LDC prototype achieves 96.82% full load efficiency under 400V input condition which is 1.2% efficiency higher than the fixed ratio LLC based two-stage design. Last but not least, the prototype shows a comparable efficiency to the fixed ratio LLC based two-stage design even under the low input voltage (270V) condition.

LLC resonant converter, Matrix transformer, Variable ratio transformer, High current application