Control Strategies for Improving Reliability and Efficiency in Modular Power Converters

The significance of modular power converters has escalated drastically in various applications such as electrical energy distribution, industrial motor drives and More Electric Aircraft (MEA) owing to the benefits such as scalability, design flexibility, higher degree of fault tolerance and better maintenance. One of the main advantages of modular systems is the ability to replace the faulty converter cells during maintenance instead of the entire system. However, such maintenance cycles can result in a system of converter cells with different aging. A system with cells having different aging arises the threats of multiple maintenance, lower reliability and availability, and high maintenance costs. For controlling the thermal-stress based aging of modular power converters, power routing strategy was proposed. The thesis focuses on the different implementation strategies of power routing for modular converters. Power semiconductors are one of the most reliability critical components in power converters, and thermal-stress has been identified as the main cause of their failure. This thesis work concentrates on the power semiconductor reliability improvement algorithms. For improving system lifetime, virtual resistor based power routing algorithms for single stage and multi-stage modular architectures have been investigated through simulations and validated with experiment. A unified framework for routing the power in complex modular converter architectures is defined based on graph theory. Popular converter architectures for Smart Transformer (ST) and MEA applications are modeled as graphs to serve as the basis for developing power flow optimization. The effectiveness of graph theory for optimizing the power flow in modular systems is demonstrated with the help of proposed algorithms.


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