Power Electronics Design Methodologies with Parametric and Model-Form Uncertainty Quantification

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Virginia Tech

Modeling and simulation have become fully ingrained into the set of design and development tools that are broadly used in the field of power electronics. To state simply, they represent the fastest and safest way to study a circuit or system, thus aiding in the research, design, diagnosis, and debugging phases of power converter development. Advances in computing technologies have also enabled the ability to conduct reliability and production yield analyses to ensure that the system performance can meet given requirements despite the presence of inevitable manufacturing variability and variations in the operating conditions. However, the trustworthiness of all the model-based design techniques depends entirely on the accuracy of the simulation models used, which, thus far, has not yet been fully considered. Prior to this research, heuristic safety factors were used to compensate for deviation of real system performance from the predictions made using modeling and simulation. This approach resulted invariably in a more conservative design process.

In this research, a modeling and design approach with parametric and model-form uncertainty quantification is formulated to bridge the modeling and simulation accuracy and reliance gaps that have hindered the full exploitation of model-based design techniques. Prior to this research, a few design approaches were developed to account for variability in the design process; these approaches have not shown the capability to be applicable to complex systems. This research, however, demonstrates that the implementation of the proposed modeling approach is able to handle complex power converters and systems. A systematic study for developing a simplified test bed for uncertainty quantification analysis is introduced accordingly. For illustrative purposes, the proposed modeling approach is applied to the switching model of a modular multilevel converter to improve the existing modeling practice and validate the model used in the design of this large-scale power converter.

The proposed modeling and design methodology is also extended to design optimization, where a robust multi-objective design and optimization approach with parametric and model form uncertainty quantification is proposed. A sensitivity index is defined accordingly as a quantitative measure of system design robustness, with regards to manufacturing variability and modeling inaccuracies in the design of systems with multiple performance functions. The optimum design solution is realized by exploring the Pareto Front of the enhanced performance space, where the model-form error associated with each design is used to modify the estimated performance measures. The parametric sensitivity of each design point is also considered to discern between cases and help identify the most parametrically-robust of the Pareto-optimal design solutions.

To demonstrate the benefits of incorporating uncertainty quantification analysis into the design optimization from a more practical standpoint, a Vienna-type rectifier is used as a case study to compare the theoretical analysis with a comprehensive experimental validation. This research shows that the model-form error and sensitivity of each design point can potentially change the performance space and the resultant Pareto Front. As a result, ignoring these main sources of uncertainty in the design will result in incorrect decision-making and the choice of a design that is not an optimum design solution in practice.

modeling and simulation, parametric uncertainty, model-form uncertainty, uncertainty quantification, sensitivity analysis, modular multilevel converter, multi-objective design optimization, Vienna-type rectifier