Multilevel Power Converters with Smart Control for Wave Energy Conversion

Abstract: The main focus of this thesis is on the power electronic converter system challenges associated with the grid integration of variable-renewable-energy (VRE) sources like wave, marine current, tidal, wind, solar etc. Wave energy conversion with grid integration is used as the key reference, considering its high energy potential to support the future clean energy requirements and due the availability of a test facility at Uppsala University. The emphasis is on the DC-link power conditioning and grid coupling of direct driven wave energy converters (DDWECs). The DDWEC reflects the random nature of its input energy to its output voltage wave shape. Thereby, it demands for intelligent power conversion techniques to facilitate the grid connection.One option is to improve and adapt an already existing, simple and reliable multilevel power converter technology, using smart control strategies. The proposed WECs to grid interconnection system consists of uncontrolled three-phase rectifiers, three-level boost converter(TLBC) or three-level buck-boost converter (TLBBC) and a three-level neutral point clamped (TLNPC) inverter. A new method for pulse delay control for the active balancing of DC-link capacitor voltages by using TLBC/TLBBC is presented. Duty-ratio and pulse delay control methods are combined for obtaining better voltage regulation at the DC-link and for achieving higher controllability range. The classic voltage balancing problem of the NPC inverter input, is solved efficiently using the above technique. A synchronous current compensator is used for the NPC inverter based grid coupling. Various results from both simulation and hardware testing show that the required power conditioning and power flow control can be obtained from the proposed multilevel multistage converter system.The entire control strategies are implemented in Xilinx Virtex 5 FPGA, inside National Instruments’ CompactRIO system using LabVIEW. A contour based dead-time harmonic analysis method for TLNPC and the possibilities of having various interconnection strategies of WEC-rectifier units to complement the power converter efforts for stabilizing the DC-link, are also presented. An advanced future AC2AC direct power converter system based on Modular multilevel converter (MMC) structure developed at Siemens AG is presented briefly to demonstrate the future trends in this area.