Study on Three-level DC/DC Converter with Coupled Inductors

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Virginia Tech

High power multi-level converters are deemed as the mainstay power conversion technology for renewable energy systems including the battery storage system, PV farm and electrical vehicle charge station. This thesis is focused on the study of three-level DC/DC converter with multi-phase interleaved structure, with coupled and integrated magnetics to achieve high power density. The proposed interleaved phased legs offer the benefit of output current ripple reduction, while inversed coupled inductors can suppress the circulating current between phase legs. Compared with conventional non-interleaving three-level DC/DC converter with non-coupling inductors, both inductor current ripple and output current ripple are largely reduced by interleaving with inverse-coupled inductors.

Because of the non-linearity of the inductor coupling, the equivalent circuit model is developed for the proposed interleaving structure. The model identifies the existence of multiple equivalent inductances during one switching cycle. A combination of them determines the inductor current ripple and dynamics of the system. By virtue of inverse coupling and means of controlling the coupling coefficients, one can minimize the current ripple and the unwanted circulating current.

To further reduce the magnetic volume, the four inductors in two-phase three-level DC/DC converter are integrated into one common structure, incorporating the negative coupling effects. The integrated magnetic structure can effectively suppress the circulating current and reduce the inductor current ripple and it is easy to manufacture. This thesis provides an equivalent circuit model to facilitate the design optimization of the integrated system.

A prototype of integrated coupled inductors is assembled with nano-crystalline C-C core and powder block core. It is tested with both impedance analyzer and single pulse tester, to guarantee proper mutual inductance for inductor current ripple and output current ripple target. With a two-phase three-level DC/DC converter hardware, the concept of integrated coupled inductors is verified, showing its good performance in high-voltage, high-power conversion applications.

Coupled Inductors, Magnetic Integration, Multi-phase Three-level DC/DC, Interleaving