About the project
Nowadays, power converters are essential for the energy transition towards a system based on renewable electric energy generation, the electric power storage and the electrification and integration of the new vehicles. In particular, many of these systems operate with DC voltage at one side and AC voltage at the other in a way that allow the interaction between these two electric system. This is necessary, for instance, for the integration of PV power or battery-based storage into the AC power network. In this sense, to ensure the correct operation of the power converter there must be a certain ratio of DC voltage with respect of the AC voltage if a one-stage power converter (DC/AC) is to be used. This input DC voltage range can be enhanced if a two-stage conversion system (DC/DC – DC/AC) is applied. However, these two-stage systems increase costs and reduce the global efficiency of the system since they require two devices interconnected.
In this project it is proposed to use a new internal configuration of the converter active parts (the semiconductor-based solid-state switches) that allows to operate in one or two stages in an independent manner. The proposed strategy offers a compact and efficient configuration that provides the versatility of enhancing the acceptable DC voltage input range where the power converter can operate safely.
Moreover, in case of an internal failure of the switches that compose the converter the device stops its operation resulting in economic losses and potential problems in the local electric network that can affect other subsystems. The proposed internal configuration is fault-tolerant meaning that the power converter is internally reconfigurable to remain in operation after the fault while the maintenance and reparation tasks are expected to happen. The fault-tolerant strategy intends to minimize the number of redundant components with the objective of reducing the costs while the capacities of the power converter, its resilience and versatility are improved.
Furthermore, it is the aim of the project to put into test the novel configuration of the converter that provides the versatility and fault-tolerant functionalities developing a cost-effective device. To facilitate the energy transition the proposed design can be easily used by the industry and integrated into existing facilities since it is compatible with current technologies.
The Catalan’ Government’s Agency for Management and of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) has awarded this the project with Llavor/Producte grant. The project is co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development fund (ERDF) and supported by the Secretary of Universities and Research of the Ministry for Business and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonia.