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Using improved power electronics modeling and turbine control to improve wind turbine reliability

Lei, Ting and Barnes, Mike and Smith, Sandy and Hur, Sung-ho and Stock, Adam and Leithead, William E. (2015) Using improved power electronics modeling and turbine control to improve wind turbine reliability. IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, 30 (3). pp. 1043-1051. ISSN 0885-8969

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Abstract

Improving offshore wind turbine reliability is a key industry goal to improve the availability of this renewable energy generation source. The semiconductor devices in the wind turbine power converter are traditionally considered as the most sensitive and important components to achieve this and managing their thermomechanical stressing is vital, since this is one of their principal long-term aging mechanisms. Conventional deterministic reliability prediction methods used in industrial applications are not suitable for wind turbine applications, due to the stochastic nature of the wind speed. This paper develops an electrothermal model of the power devices, which is integrated with a wind turbine system model for the investigation of power converter thermal cycling under various operating conditions. The model has been developed to eliminate the problems of pulse width modulation switching, substantially reducing simulation time. The model is used to improve the current controller tuning method to reduce thermal stresses suffered by the converter during a grid fault. The model is finally used to design a control method to alleviate a key problem of the doubly fed induction generator—severe thermal cycling caused during operation near synchronous speed.