A nearest level PWM method for the MMC in DC distribution grids

Wang, Yi and Hu, Can and Ding, Ruoyu and Xu, Lie and Fu, Chao and Yang, Erlin (2018) A nearest level PWM method for the MMC in DC distribution grids. IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. ISSN 0885-8993 (https://doi.org/10.1109/TPEL.2018.2792148)

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For modular multilevel converters (MMCs) applied to medium-voltage DC distribution grids, using the traditional Nearest Level Modulation (NLM) as in HVDC systems can lead to severe current distortion due to significantly reduced module number. This paper proposes a hybrid modulation method combining NLM and Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) where only one module per arm operates under PWM mode. The proposed Nearest Level PWM (NL-PWM) method not only significantly reduces the current distortion, but also avoids the complicated voltage balancing control in each module. The harmonic characteristics of NL-PWM are derived using double Fourier transform, which provides theoretical basis for selecting module number and switching frequency for medium-voltage application in accordance with grid harmonic requirements. Finally, the harmonic characteristics and feasibility of the proposed modulation method are validated by simulation and experimental studies on a MMC with 6 modules per arm. The simulated and experimental results reveal that NL-PWM has better voltage and current harmonic characteristics over NLM and CPS-PWM, thereby suiting the application of MMC with few models.