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Distributed control of a fault tolerant modular multilevel inverter for direct-drive wind turbine grid interfacing

Parker, Max and Ran, Li and Finney, Stephen (2013) Distributed control of a fault tolerant modular multilevel inverter for direct-drive wind turbine grid interfacing. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 60 (2). pp. 509-522. ISSN 0278-0046

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Modular generator and converter topologies are being pursued for large offshore wind turbines to achieve fault tolerance and high reliability. A centralized controller presents a single critical point of failure which has prevented a truly modular and fault tolerant system from being obtained. This study analyses the inverter circuit control requirements during normal operation and grid fault ride-through, and proposes a distributed controller design to allow inverter modules to operate independently of each other. All the modules independently estimate the grid voltage magnitude and position, and the modules are synchronised together over a CAN bus. The CAN bus is also used to interleave the PWM switching of the modules and synchronise the ADC sampling. The controller structure and algorithms are tested by laboratory experiments with respect to normal operation, initial synchronization to the grid, module fault tolerance and grid fault ride-through.