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Flexible high-power multi DC-DC converters for train systems

By Arash Abbasalizadeh Boora


This thesis reports on the investigations, simulations and analyses of novel power electronics topologies and control strategies. The research is financed by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage (07-09) grant. Therefore, in addition to developing original research and contributing to the available knowledge of power electronics, it also contributes to the design of a DC-DC converter for specific application to the auxiliary power supply in electric trains. Specifically, in this regard, it contributes to the design of a 7.5 kW DC-DC converter for the industrial partner (Schaffler and Associates Ltd) who supported this project. As the thesis is formatted as a ‘thesis by publication’, the contents are organized around published papers. The research has resulted in eleven papers, including seven peer reviewed and published conference papers, one published journal paper, two journal papers accepted for publication and one submitted journal paper (provisionally accepted subject to few changes). In this research, several novel DC-DC converter topologies are introduced, analysed, and tested. The similarity of all of the topologies devised lies in their ‘current circulating’ switching state, which allows them to store some energy in the inductor, as extra inductor current. The stored energy may be applied to enhance the performance of the converter in the occurrence of load current or input voltage disturbances. In addition, when there is an alternating load current, the ability to store energy allows the converter to perform satisfactorily despite frequently and highly varying load current. In this research, the capability of current storage has been utilised to design topologies for specific applications, and the enhancement of the performance of the considered applications has been illustrated. The simplest DC-DC converter topology, which has a ‘current circulating’ switching state, is the Positive Buck-Boost (PBB) converter (also known as the non-inverting Buck-Boost converter). Usually, the topology of the PBB converter is operating as a Buck or a Boost converter in applications with widely varying input voltage or output reference voltage. For example, in electric railways (the application of our industrial partner), the overhead line voltage alternates from 1000VDC to 500VDC and the required regulated voltage is 600VDC. In the course of this research, our industrial partner (Schaffler and Associates Ltd) industrialized a PBB converter–the ‘Mudo converter’–operating at 7.5 kW. Programming the onboard DSP and testing the PBB converter in experimental and nominal power and voltage was part of this research program. In the earlier stages of this research, the advantages and drawbacks of utilization of the ‘current circulating’ switching state in the positive Buck-Boost converter were investigated. In brief, the advantages were found to be robustness against input voltage and current load disturbances, and the drawback was extra conduction and switching loss. Although the robustness against disturbances is desirable for many applications, the price of energy loss must be minimized to attract attention to the utilization of the PBB converter. In further stages of this research, two novel control strategies for different applications were devised to minimise the extra energy loss while the advantages of the positive Buck-Boost converter were fully utilized. The first strategy is Smart Load Controller (SLC) for applications with pre-knowledge or predictability of input voltage and/or load current disturbances. A convenient example of these applications is electric/hybrid cars where a master controller commands all changes in loads and voltage sources. Therefore, the master controller has a pre-knowledge of the load and input voltage disturbances so it can apply the SLC strategy to utilize robustness of the PBB converter. Another strategy aiming to minimise energy loss and maximise the robustness in the face of disturbance is developed to cover applications with unexpected disturbances. This strategy is named Dynamic Hysteresis Band (DHB), and is used to manipulate the hysteresis band height after occurrence of disturbance to reduce dynamics of the output voltage. When no disturbance has occurred, the PBB converter works with minimum inductor current and minimum energy loss. New topologies based on the PBB converter have been introduced to address input voltage disturbances for different onboard applications. The research shows that the performance of applications of symmetrical/asymmetrical multi-level diode-clamped inverters, DC-networks, and linear-assisted RF amplifiers may be enhanced by the utilization of topologies based on the PBB converter. Multi-level diode-clamped inverters have the problem of DC-link voltage balancing when the power factor of their load closes to unity. This research has shown that this problem may be solved with a suitable multi-output DC-DC converter supplying DClink capacitors. Furthermore, the multi-level diode-clamped inverters supplied with asymmetrical DC-link voltages may improve the quality of load voltage and reduce the level of Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). Mathematical analyses and experiments on supplying symmetrical and asymmetrical multi-level inverters by specifically designed multi-output DC-DC converters have been reported in two journal papers. Another application in which the system performance can be improved by utilization of the ‘current circulating’ switching state is linear-assisted RF amplifiers in communicational receivers. The concept of ‘linear-assisted’ is to divide the signal into two frequency domains: low frequency, which should be amplified by a switching circuit; and the high frequency domain, which should be amplified by a linear amplifier. The objective is to minimize the overall power loss. This research suggests using the current storage capacity of a PBB based converter to increase its bandwidth, and to increase the domain of the switching converter. The PBB converter addresses the industrial demand for a DC-DC converter for the application of auxiliary power supply of a typical electric train. However, after testing the industrial prototype of the PBB converter, there were some voltage and current spikes because of switching. To attenuate this problem without significantly increasing the switching loss, the idea of Active Gate Signalling (AGS) is presented. AGS suggests a smart gate driver that selectively controls the switching process to reduce voltage/current spikes, without unacceptable reduction in the efficiency of switching

Topics: active gate signalling, asymmetrical multi-level inverter, auxiliary equipment, auxiliary power supply, DC-DC converter topologies, DC-link voltage balancing, electric railway, electric vehicle, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), electromagnetic interference (EMI), hybrid vehicle, hysteresis current control, input voltage disturbance, load current disturbance, multi-level diode-clamped inverter, multi-output DC-DC converter, multi-voltage DC-network, overhead voltage, renewable energy, residential PV, switching loss
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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