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Multiphase design and control techniques applied to a forward micro-inverter

  • Autores: David Meneses Herrera
  • Directores de la Tesis: Oscar García Suárez (dir. tes.)
  • Lectura: En la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid ( España ) en 2016
  • Idioma: español
  • Materias:
  • Enlaces
  • Resumen
    • In the last decade the photovoltaic (PV) installed power increased with an average growth of 49% per year and it is expected to cover the 16% of the global electricity consumption by 2050. Most of the installed PV power corresponds to grid-connected systems, with a significant percentage of residential installations. In these PV systems, the inverter is essential since it is the responsible of transferring into the grid the extracted power from the PV modules. Several architectures have been proposed for grid-connected residential PV systems, including the AC-module technology.

      An AC-module consists of an inverter, also known as micro-inverter, which is attached to a PV module. The AC-module technology offers modularity, redundancy and individual MPPT of each module. In addition, the expansion of this technology will enable the possibility of economies of scale of mass market and “plug and play” for the user, thus reducing the overall cost of the installation. However, the micro-inverter must be able to provide the required voltage boost to interface a low voltage PV module to the grid while keeping an acceptable efficiency in a wide power range. Furthermore, the quality standards must be satisfied and size and lifetime of the solutions must be always considered.

      In this thesis a single-stage forward micro-inverter with boundary mode operation is proposed to address the micro-inverter requirements. The transformer in the proposed topology remains as in the classic forward converter and bidirectional switches in the secondary side allows direct connection to the grid. In addition the selected control strategy allows high power factor current with a simple implementation. The operation of the topology is presented and the main design issues are introduced. With the intention to propose a simple and low-cost solution, an analog controller for a PFC operated in boundary mode is utilized. The main necessary modifications are discussed, with the focus on the zero current detection (ZCD) and the compatibility of the controller with a MPPT algorithm. The experimental results show the limitations of the selected analog controller implementation and the transformer is identified as a main losses contributor.

      The main objective of this thesis is to contribute in the application of control and design multiphase techniques to the PV micro-inverters. Two different multiphase configurations have been applied to the forward micro-inverter proposed in this thesis. The first one consists of a parallel-series connected variation which enables the use of low turns ratio, i.e. well coupled, transformers to achieve a proper voltage boost with an improved performance. This multiphase configuration implements BCM control at maximum load however. With this control method the switching frequency increases significantly for light load operation, thus jeopardizing the efficiency. Therefore, in order to keep acceptable weighted efficiency levels, DCM operation is selected for low power conditions.

      The second multiphase variation considered in this thesis is the interleaved configuration with two different phase shedding techniques: depending on the DC power extracted from the PV panel, and depending on the demanded instantaneous power. The application of interleaving techniques is interesting in PV grid-connected inverters for the possibility of flat efficiency behavior in a wide power range. The interleaved variations of the proposed forward micro-inverter are operated in DCM to avoid the current loop, which is important when the number of phases is large.

      The adequate transformer cores for all the multiphase configurations are selected according to the area product parameter and a detailed design of each required transformer is developed. With this information and simulation results, the impact in size and efficiency of the number of transformer used can be assessed. The considered multiphase topologies are compared in this thesis according to the results of the introduced analysis.

      Several other topological solutions have been proposed to solve the mentioned concerns in AC-module application. The most of these solutions use a high frequency transformer to boost the voltage and avoid grounding and safety issues. However, it is of interest to assess if the non-isolated topologies are suitable for AC-module application. In this thesis a review of transformerless step-up inverters is presented. The compiled topologies are compared using a set benchmark to provide the necessary information to assess whether non-isolated topologies are suitable for AC-module application.

      The main contributions of this thesis are: • The application of the boundary mode control with constant off-time to a forward converter, to obtain a simple and low-cost single-stage forward micro-inverter.

      • A modification of the forward micro-inverter with primary-parallel secondary-series connected transformers to reduce the current stress and improve the voltage gain with highly coupled transformers.

      • The application of the interleaved configuration with different phase shedding strategies to the proposed forward micro-inverter.

      • An analysis and comparison of the influence in size and efficiency of increasing the number of transformers in the parallel-series and interleaved multiphase configurations.

      • Elimination of the current loop and current measurements in the multiphase topologies by adopting DCM operation and a current sensorless MPPT.

      • A compilation and comparison with the same specifications of suitable non-isolated step-up inverters.

      This thesis is organized in six chapters. In Chapter 1 the background of single-phase PV-connected systems is discussed and the scope of the thesis is defined. Chapter 2 compiles the existing solutions for isolated micro-inverters and transformerless step-up inverters suitable for AC-module application. In addition, the most convenient non-isolated inverters are compared using a defined benchmark. Chapter 3 focuses on the originally proposed single-stage forward micro-inverter. The application of multiphase techniques is addressed in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5, and the impact in different parameters of increasing the number of phases is analyzed. In Chapter 4 an original primary-parallel secondary-series variation of the forward micro-inverter is presented, while Chapter 5 focuses on the application of the interleaved configuration. Finally, Chapter 6 discusses the contributions of the thesis and the future work.

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