Thermal Stress Analysis of Medium-Voltage Converters for Smart Transformers

A smart transformer (ST) can take over an important managing role in the future electrical distribution grid system and can provide many advanced grid services compared to the traditional transformer. However, the risk is that the advanced functionality is balanced out by a lower reliability. To address this concern, this work conducts thermal stress analysis for a modular multilevel converter (MMC), which is a promising solution for the medium voltage stage of the ST. The focus is put on the mission profiles of the transformer and the impact on the thermal stress of power semiconductor devices. Normal operation at different power levels and medium voltage grid faults in a feeder fed by a traditional transformer are considered as well as the electrical and the thermal stress of the disconnection and the reconnection procedures. For the validation, the thermal stress of one MMC cell is reproduced on a laboratory setup with high-speed temperature measurement. It is concluded that the investigated conditions, including inrush currents and power variations, do not cause a significant lifetime reduction.


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