Improving energy capture and power quality of power electronic connected generation
Power electronic converter is a significant intermediate media for electric renewable energy systems when integrated into the utility grid. Renewable energy systems such as wind, solar and wave energy systems usually operate with irregular natural energy sources. Advanced energy conversion interfaces are therefore highly desirable for stable power supply, good system reliability and high energy extraction efficiency. This thesis investigates the power generation and conversion systems, with the concentrations on the long-term operation cost, full-power-range efficiency and power quality of power electronic converters, for wind, solar and wave energy applications. The story starts with a hybrid wind-solar energy system design targeting at improving energy yield and system reliability. Wind energy and solar energy, as two complementary energy resources, are combined in a single energy system that features improved energy supply stability and reduced energy storage requirement. Special adaptive energy extraction maximisation algorithms are developed for energy generators in order to increase the energy extraction efficiency. The overall energy cogeneration system can offer high productivity and robustness under varying weather conditions. In the second part of this thesis, a bidirectional DC-AC converter based on the well-established Silicon (Si) based two-level circuit and the emerging Silicon Carbide (SiC) based three-level circuit is investigated, with the motivation to enhance the full-power-range efficiency in renewable energy generation and conversion systems. The SiC based circuit is advantageous especially under low-power conditions due to its low switching losses. The costs of power electronics, especially the power semiconductor devices, are taken into account. The Si based circuit provides a more cost-effective option and lower conduction losses under high-power conditions to further improve the overall energy conversion efficiency. All these benefits are integrated in a single converter called hybrid level-matching (HLM) converter, which is comprised of parallel-connected SiC and Si based circuits. A model predictive control (MPC) algorithm is developed to assist the switching state selection for minimised power losses across the full power range. The proposed HLM converter shows similar power control quality and better full-power-range efficiency compared to its conventional counterparts. The operation of the HLM converter under the proposed MPC controller is experimentally verified by a lab-scale demonstrator. The final part of this thesis focuses on the control of an existing flying capacitor based multilevel converter known as stacked multicell converter (SMC). Considered as a superior DC-AC converter candidate in renewable energy standalone load applications, SMC can be controlled under different capacitor voltage ratios to increase the output voltage resolution. This is studied to explore the potential to improve power control quality within the same SMC circuit by applying different capacitor voltage set-points. The capacitor voltage balancing and the basic three-phase current control are achieved by means of a space vector based MPC algorithm. A method to reduce the computational burden by shrinking the space vector candidate size is proposed. The trade-off between capacitor voltage balancing and current reference tracking poses a major challenge to the SMC in its flexibility in capacitor voltage ratio choice. This is investigated in detail to verify the feasibility to reduce load harmonic distortion by modifying the traditional capacitor voltage ratio in a SMC with three stacked cells.