Form-Factor-Constrained, High Power Density, Extreme Efficiency and Modular Power Converters

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Virginia Tech

Enhancing performance of power electronics converters has always been an interesting topic in the power electronics community. Over the years, researchers and engineers are developing new high performance component, novel converter topologies, smart control methods and optimal design procedures to improve the efficiency, power density, reliability and reducing the cost. Besides pursuing high performance, researchers and engineers are striving to modularize the power electronics converters, which provides redundancy, flexibility and standardization to the end users. The trend of modularization has been seen in photovoltaic inverters, telecommunication power supplies, and recently, HVDC applications.

A systematic optimal design approach for modular power converters is developed in this dissertation. The converters are developed for aerospace applications where there are stringent requirement on converter form factor, loss dissipation, thermal management and electromagnetic interference (EMI) performance. This work proposed an optimal design approach to maximize the nominal power of the power converters considering all the constraints, which fully reveals the power processing potential. Specifically, this work studied three-phase active front-end converter, three-phase isolated ac/dc converter and inverter. The key models (with special attention paid to semiconductor switching loss model), detailed design procedures and key design considerations are elaborated. With the proposed design framework, influence of key design variables, e.g. converter topology, switching frequency, etc. is thoroughly studied.

Besides optimal design procedure, control issues in paralleling modular converters are discussed. A master-slave control architecture is used. The slave controllers not only follow the command broadcasted by the master controller, but also synchronize the high frequency clock to the master controller. The control architecture eliminates the communication between the slave controllers but keeps paralleled modules well synchronized, enabling a fully modularized design.

Furthermore, the implementation issues of modularity are discussed. Although modularizing converters under form factor constraints adds flexibility to the system, it limits the design space by forbidding oversized components. This work studies the influence of the form factor by exploring the maximal nominal power of a double-sized converter module and comparing it with that of two paralleled modules. The tradeoff between modularity and performance is revealed by this study. Another implementation issue is related to EMI. Scaling up system capacity by paralleling converter modules induces EMI issues in both signal level and system level. This work investigates the mechanisms and provides solutions to the EMI problems.

High efficiency, high power density, form-factor-constrained, modularity, modular power converter, more-electric aircraft, bi-level integrated synthesis, Optimization, wide-bandgap semiconductor, ac/dc converter, Vienna rectifier, dc/ac converter, T-