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MMC with parallel-connected MOSFETs as an alternative to wide bandgap converters for LVDC distribution networks

Zhong, Yanni and Roscoe, Nina M. and Holliday, Derrick and Finney, Stephen J. (2017) MMC with parallel-connected MOSFETs as an alternative to wide bandgap converters for LVDC distribution networks. Journal of Engineering. ISSN 2051-3305

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Abstract

LVDC networks offer improved conductor utilisation on existing infrastructure and reduced conversion stages, which can lead to a simpler and more efficient distribution network. However, LVDC networks must continue to support AC loads, requiring efficient, low distortion DC-AC converters. In addition, there are increasing numbers of DC loads on the LVAC network requiring controlled, low distortion, unity power factor AC-DC converters with increasing capacity, and bi-directional capability. An efficient AC-DC/DC-AC converter design is therefore proposed in this paper to minimise conversion loss and maximise power quality. A comparative analysis is carried out for a conventional IGBT 2-level converter, a SiC MOSFET 2-level converter, a Si MOSFET MMC and a GaN HEMT MMC, in terms of power loss, reliability, fault tolerance, converter cost, and heatsink size. The analysis indicates that the 5-level MMC with parallel-connected Si MOSFETs is an efficient, cost effective converter for LV converter applications. MMC converters suffer negligible switching loss, which enables reduced device switching without loss penalty from increased harmonics and filtering. Optimal extent of parallel connection for MOSFETs in an MMC is investigated. Experimental results are presented for current sharing in parallel-connected MOSFETs, showing reduction in device stress and EMI generating transients through the use of reduced switching.