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Modular Multilevel Converters

Binbin Li, Rongfeng Yang, Dandan Xu, Gaolin Wang, Member, IEEE, Wei Wang,

and Dianguo Xu, Senior Member, IEEE

AbstractThe modular multilevel converter (MMC) is an high-power applications, particularly in the high-voltage direct

emerging topology for high-power applications and is considered current transmission (HVDC) sector [4][8].

as the development trend of the high-voltage power converters. Many academic papers have been published to improve the

In this paper, general implementation of the phase-shifted carrier

(PSC) modulation with a capacitor voltage balancing method for performances of MMC. In [9][16], the mathematical analysis,

MMC is first introduced. Then, the mathematical analysis of PSC modeling methodologies, and the semiconductor requirements

modulation for MMC is performed to identify the PWM harmonic of MMC under different operating conditions were carried out.

characteristics of the output voltage and the circulating current. The capacitor voltage balancing and circulating current sup-

Moreover, influence of the carrier displacement angle between the pression are two major tasks associated with MMC and several

upper and lower arms on these harmonics is also studied. Using

this analysis, the optimum displacement angles are specified for the control solutions based on feedback control or the sorting algo-

output voltage harmonics minimization and the circulating current rithm have been proposed and reported in [17][23]. In addition,

harmonics cancellation, respectively. The harmonic features of the as one of the most interesting topics, various pulsewidth modu-

line-to-line voltage and the dc-link current are also investigated. lation (PWM) techniques have been developed to fit MMC. The

Moreover, an extension of the PSC modulation for MMC with nearest level control (NLC), also known as the round method,

full-bridge submodules is also proposed which can increase the

equivalent switching frequency of the output voltage and circulat- was adopted in [11], [24], and [25]. This method is especially

ing current by two times compared with the conventional MMC. suitable for MMC with a large number of submodules (SMs).

Finally, the findings are verified experimentally on a prototype of Furthermore, [16] and [26] extend the application scope of NLC

MMC. by introducing one SM working in PWM operation. A phase-

Index TermsFourier series, modular multilevel converter disposition (PD) level shifted PWM strategy including a voltage

(MMC), phase-shifted carrier (PSC), pulsewidth modulation balancing method was discussed in [27] and [28]. Particularly,

(PWM). it must be pointed out that the PD-PWM is not very preferred

for MMC, as it causes an uneven power distribution among

I. INTRODUCTION the different SMs [29]. Another popular PWM technique is the

phase-shifted carrier (PSC), which is the most commonly used

OWADAYS, the increasing concerns about climate

N change and the growing demand for electricity have posed

new challenges for power generation and transmission [1][3].

method in the cascaded H-bridge converters (CHB) [29][31].

The PSC modulation is also attractive to MMC as it has some

distinctive features:

As an innovative and highly efficient solution for energy conver- 1) The semiconductor stress and the power handled by each

sion, the modular multilevel converter (MMC) is gaining more SM are evenly distributed. Hence, the capacitor voltage

and more attentions because it presents great advantages com- balancing control can be easily achieved.

pared with conventional two-level or three-level voltage source 2) The output voltage has a high resulting switching fre-

converters. These advantages such as lower losses, reduced EMI quency and a low total harmonic distortion (THD).

noise, less semiconductor device stress, scalability and easy as- 3) Consistent with the structure of MMC, each triangular

sembling, and the nearly ideal sinusoidal-shaped output wave- carrier associated to a particular SM presents the nature

forms make MMC the most attractive topology for high-voltage of modularity and scalability.

Due to the aforementioned merits, the PSC scheme of CHB

has been directly employed to MMC by many researchers in

Manuscript received August 10, 2013; revised October 29, 2013 and Decem- [18][23], and [32][34] that the carriers for SMs in the same

ber 10, 2013; accepted January 2, 2014. Date of publication January 13, 2014; phase are arranged with an equal phase shifts in angle. There are,

date of current version August 26, 2014. This work was supported by National however, significant differences between these two topologies.

Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 51237002 and by grants from

the Power Electronics Science and Education Development Program of Delta For the case of the CHB, a large number of isolated dc sources

Environmental and Educational Foundation. Recommended for publication by are required when transferring active power, which have to be

Associate Editor M. A. Perez. fed from phase-shifting isolation transformers and multiphase

The authors are with the School of Electrical Engineering and Automation,

Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China (e-mail: libinbinhit@ rectifiers, which are very expensive and bulky [29]. In contrast,

126.com; yrf@hit.edu.cn; dan_danzai@163.com; WGL818@hit.edu.cn; MMC eliminates the bulky phase-shifting transformers and has

wangwei602@hit.edu.cn; xudiang@hit.edu.cn). an additional dc terminal formed by the upper and lower arms,

Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online

at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. which allows bi-directional power flow between ac and dc sides.

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPEL.2014.2299802 Additionally, the output voltage and circulating current of MMC

0885-8993 2014 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.

See http://www.ieee.org/publications standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.

298 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 1, JANUARY 2015

lower arm voltages [9]. Hence, when applying PSC modulation Fig. 2. Equivalent circuit of one phase of the MMC.

to MMC, carriers for SMs in the lower arm and carriers for

SMs in the upper arm need to be considered separately, with an B. Mathematical Model of MMC

interleaved displacement angle. This displacement angle will

affect the high-frequency interactions between the upper and As shown in Fig. 2, the equivalent circuit diagram of one

lower arms, and further determines the harmonic features of phase of MMC is used for analysis. uoj is the output voltage

MMC. of phase j (j {a, b, c}), ioj is the phase current, and E is the

So far, few studies have analyzed the principle of PSC mod- dc-link voltage. uu j , iu j and uw j , iw j represent the voltages and

ulation for MMC and it remains unclear how the displacement currents of the upper arm and the lower arm, respectively.

angle would influence the performance of MMC. It is, therefore, The following equations can be obtained by Kirchhoffs volt-

the aim of this paper to provide a fully mathematical analysis age law:

of the PSC modulation implemented in MMC, to investigate diu j diw j E

the impact of the displacement angle on the voltage and current Rup iu j + Lup + Mu = uu j uoj (1)

dt dt 2

harmonics, and to find out an optimal displacement angle which

diw j diu j E

can minimize these harmonics. Rlw iw j + Llw + Mu = uw j + uoj (2)

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section II in- dt dt 2

troduces the circuit configuration and mathematical model of diu j diw j diw j diu j

uL j = Lup + Mu + Llw + Mu (3)

MMC. Section III provides the implementation of PSC mod- dt dt dt dt

ulation to MMC combined with a capacitor voltage balancing where uL j is the voltage across the coupled inductors, Mu is the

method. In Section IV, the output voltage harmonics minimiza- mutual inductance, Rup , Rlw and Lup , Llw are the resistances

tion PSC scheme and the circulating current harmonics cancel- and self-inductances, respectively. It is assumed that the cou-

lation PSC scheme are proposed based on the Fourier series pling coefficient of two windings equals 1 (i.e., Lup = Llw =

analysis. Furthermore, Section V extends the PSC modulation Mu = L0 ) and the resistances of the inductors are neglected for

method to MMC with full-bridge SMs. The validity of the anal- simplicity. Hence, the expressions (1)(3) can be derived as

ysis and the proposed PSC schemes are verified by experimental

1

results on a three-phase MMC prototype in Section VI. Finally, uoj = (uw j uu j ) (4)

Section VII summarizes this paper. 2

dicj

uL j = uw j uu j + E = 4L0 (5)

dt

II. BASIC OPERATING PRINCIPLES

where icj is defined as the circulating current of phase j, which

A. Structure of MMC circulates through both the upper and lower arms and can be

The circuit configuration of a three-phase MMC is shown in given by

Fig. 1. Each phase of MMC consists of two arms, the upper and 1

the lower, which are connected through buffer inductors. Each (iu j + iw j ) .

icj = (6)

2

arm is formed by a series connection of N nominally identical

According to (5), the circulating current icj can be obtained

half-bridge SMs and each SM contains a dc capacitor and two

by performing the following integration:

insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs). The single coupled

t

inductor is preferred in this paper as it has smaller size and uL j

lighter weight than the total of the two separate inductors [5]. icj = Icj + dt (7)

0 4L0

LI et al.: ANALYSIS OF THE PHASE-SHIFTED CARRIER MODULATION FOR MODULAR MULTILEVEL CONVERTERS 299

and lower carriers. Note that has a significant impact on the

harmonic features of MMC and will be discussed in Section IV.

Due to symmetry, the range of can be obtained as [0, /N ].

As the SMs of MMC are modulated independently under

PSC-PWM, the voltage balancing of the capacitors can be

achieved by adjusting the reference signal of each SM. Fig. 4

shows the complete block diagram of PSC-PWM for MMC

combined with the capacitor voltage balancing method, in which

the reference signals uref w j (i) and uref u j (i) are given by

E

uref w j (i) = (1+M cos (o t+j ))+uref w j (i) (12)

2N

E

uref u j (i) = (1 + M cos (o t + j + )) + uref uj (i)

2N

(13)

where M (0 M 1) denotes the modulation depth, o is

the angular frequency of the output ac voltage, and j is the

Fig. 3. PSC-PWM of MMC.

phase angle. uref w j (i) and uref u j (i) represent the refer-

ence adjustment of each SM in the lower and the upper arm,

where Icj is the dc component of the circulating current. Ideally, respectively. These reference adjustments are intended for the

the phase current ioj would be split equally between these two voltage balancing control of the SMs and can be calculated as

arms and the arm currents can be expressed as

uref w j (i) = Kp (Uavg j USM wj (i)) icj (14)

1

iu j = icj + ioj (8) uref u j (i) = Kp (Uavg j USM uj (i)) icj (15)

2

1 where Kp denotes the proportional gain, USM w j (i) is the ca-

iw j = icj ioj . (9) pacitor voltage of ith SM in the lower arm, while USM u j (i)

2

is the capacitor voltage of ith SM in the upper arm. Uavg j is

III. IMPLEMENTATION OF PSC MODULATION INTO MMCS the average voltage of all the 2N SM capacitors within phase

j. Equations (14) and (15) indicate that for the SMs with volt-

A. Description of the PSC Modulation for MMC

ages lower than the average voltage, the product of the adjust-

As depicted in Fig. 3, when applying the PSC modulation ment voltage and the circulating current icj will form a positive

to an MMC with N SMs per arm, there should be a total of power transfer to charge these SMs. In contrast, a negative power

2 N triangular carriers with the frequency of fc (Cu 1 Cu N transfer will be generated to discharge the SMs with voltages

for the upper arm, and Cw 1 Cw N for the lower arm) and 2 N higher than the average voltage. Detailed implementation of

reference signals (uref u j (i) for the ith SM in the upper arm, and the proposed voltage balancing control method can be seen in

uref w j (i) for the ith SM in the lower arm, i = 1, 2, . . ., N ). Each Fig. 4.

SM is assigned with a specific reference signal and a triangular

carrier, such that all SMs have the same switching frequency IV. HARMONIC FEATURES OF MMC WITH PSC MODULATION

and the semiconductor stresses are evenly distributed. Then, the

switching pulses of each SM are generated by comparing the In this section, the double Fourier series based analysis [35]

reference signal with the corresponding carrier wave. is presented to investigate how the displacement angle of PSC

In order to achieve best harmonic cancellation features, the N modulation will influence the harmonics of the output phase

triangular carriers of each arm are shifted by 2/N incrementally voltage and the circulating current of MMC. Moreover, the op-

[30]. Therefore, the phase angle w (i) of the ith carrier Cw i in timum displacement angles to minimize the voltage harmonics

the lower arm can be given by and to eliminate the circulating current harmonics are also pro-

posed, respectively.

2

w (i) = (i 1). (10)

N A. Influence of the Displacement Angle on Harmonics of

As for the ith carrier Cu i in the upper arm, that is Output Voltage and Circulating Current of MMC

2 In the following harmonic analysis, it is assumed that all the

u (i) = + (i 1) . (11) capacitor voltages are naturally balanced (i.e., uref w j (i) =

N

300 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 1, JANUARY 2015

uref u j (i) = 0) thus the dc-link voltage E is equally distributed From (13), the output voltage of ith SM in the upper arm,

among the SMs (i.e., US M = E/N ). Note that this assumption uu j (i), can also be described by the same way

is reasonable because uref w j (i) and uref u j (i) are gener-

E ME 2E

ally a relatively small portion when compared with uref w j (i) uu j (i) = cos(o t + j ) +

2N 2N m =1 n =

mN

and uref u j (i), which can be proved by the experimental re-

sults in Section VI. Moreover, in normal operating conditions, (m + n) M m

the capacitance of each SM is always designed to limit the sin Jn

2 2

capacitor voltage fluctuations not exceeding 10% of the rated

capacitor voltage. So for simplicity, the capacitance of each SM 2

cos m c t++(i1) +n(o t + j +) .

is supposed to be large enough so that the capacitor voltage N

fluctuations can be ignored. (17)

According to (12), the Fourier representation of the output By summing the output voltages of N SMs, the arm voltages

voltage of ith SM in the lower arm, uw j (i), can be expressed can be derived as

as N

E ME

uw j = uw j (i) = + cos(o t + j )

i=1

2 2

E ME 2E

uw j (i) = + cos(o t + j ) + 2E (N m + n)

2N 2N m =1 n =

mN + sin

mN 2

m =1 n =

(m + n) M m

sin Jn M N m

2 2 Jn cos [N mc t + n(o t + j )] (18)

2

2

cos m c t + (i 1) + n(o t + j )

N

N E ME

uu j = uu j (i) = cos(o t + j )

(16) i=1

2 2

2E (N m + n)

+ sin

where c is the angular frequency of the triangular carriers, m m =1 n =

mN 2

is the harmonic order of the carrier wave (m = 1, . . ., ), n is

M N m

the harmonic order of the reference wave (n = , . . ., 1, 0, Jn cos [N m(c t + )+n(o t+j +)] .

1, . . ., ), Jn (x) refers to the Bessel coefficient of order n and 2

argument x. (19)

LI et al.: ANALYSIS OF THE PHASE-SHIFTED CARRIER MODULATION FOR MODULAR MULTILEVEL CONVERTERS 301

Equations (18) and (19) show that all harmonics are elimi-

nated except those at N -multiples of the carrier frequency and

their sideband components.

Combining (4), (5), and (7) with (18) and (19), the output

voltage and the circulating current of phase j can be obtained

as (see Appendix A)

1 (1)n 2E

uoj = M Ecos(o t + j ) +

2 m =1 n =

mN

M N m

J2n +1N m

2

N m ( )

cos [N mc t + Q] cos (20)

2

Idc (1)n E J2n +1N m (M N m/2)

icj = Fig. 5. Magnitudes of the harmonics of the phase output voltage at different

3 m =1 n = mN L0 (N mc +(2n+1N m) o )

displacement angles. (a) N is even. (b) N is odd.

N m ( )

cos [N mc t + Q] sin (21)

2

where

N m ( )

Q = (2n + 1 N m) (o t + j ) + . (22)

2

It can be seen that the phase voltage uoj and the circulating

current icj both contain N -multiples of the carrier frequency

harmonics with associated sideband components. Note that

(21) focuses on the switching harmonics caused by PSC-PWM

whereas not includes the low-frequency harmonics due to the

energy oscillation between the upper and lower arms [9].

To analyze the impact of the displacement angle on the

harmonic features, magnitudes of the Nmth carrier group har-

monics of uoj and icj are defined as Vm n and Im n , respectively.

Therefore

N m ( ) Fig. 6. Magnitudes of the harmonics of the phase circulating current at differ-

Vm n = Km n cos (23) ent displacement angles. (a) N is even. (b) N is odd.

2

N m ( )

Im n = Hm n sin (24) B. Output Voltage Harmonics Minimization PSC Scheme

2

For most power converters, the output voltage with a higher

where resulting switching frequency and a lower harmonic distortion

2E M N m means smaller and lower-cost filters. Thus, from (23) and Fig. 5,

Km n = J2n +1N m (25)

mN 2 the minimum voltage harmonics can be obtained in MMC by

choosing the displacement angle as follows:

Km n

Hm n = . (26)

2L0 (N mc + (2n + 1 N m) o ) 0, N is odd

= . (27)

Figs. 5 and 6 show the magnitudes of the Nmth carrier group , N is even

N

harmonics of the output voltage and the circulating current as

a function of displacement angle , respectively. Here, only Then, the phase output voltage can be derived as

the first six harmonic groups (m 6) are analyzed due to the

1 (1)n +1 E

limitation of this paper. It can be seen that for a particular har- uoj = M E cos(o t + j ) +

monic group m, the voltage harmonic and the current harmonic 2 m =1 n =

mN

are changed with at completely opposite tendency. It means

J2n +12N m (M N m) cos [2N mc t + Q ] (28)

that a minimum voltage harmonic is obtained at the cost of a

maximum circulating current harmonic, and vice versa. There- where Q is given by

fore, the displacement angle should be designed specifically

according to the requirements of application conditions. Q = (2n + 1 2N m) (o t + j ) . (29)

302 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 1, JANUARY 2015

carrier group will be zero and the frequency of the lowest har- 3N m N m (2n + 1)

monic group rises to 2N fc . Thus, the cutoff frequency of the Q = (2n + 1 N m) o t + + .

6 3

output filter can be doubled, leading to a significant reduction (35)

of the filter size. In this case, all the triplen sideband harmonics of uab are

As for the circulating current at this displacement angle, even cancelled (i.e., 2n + 1 Nm = 3, 6, 9, . . .) as the term of sin

multiples of the Nmth carrier group harmonics are cancelled [(2n + 1 Nm)/3] in (34) is always zero. Based on (23),

while odd multiples will reach their maximum values the line-to-line voltage magnitudes of the Nmth carrier group

Im n = Hm n , m = 1, 3, 5, ... (30) harmonics can be expressed as

Note that these current harmonics will not only cause a lower Vll m n =

efficiency of MMC, but apply a higher current stress upon the )

3Km n cos N m (

2 , if 2n+1N m = 0, 3 , 6, . . .

semiconductors. Moreover, if a smooth dc current is desired,

extra filter must be added to the dc link in order to attenuate 0, else.

these current harmonics. (36)

C. Circulating Current Harmonics Cancellation PSC Scheme Similarly, according to (21), the total dc-link current idc can

also be obtained by summing the three phase circulating currents

For MMC with a great number of SMs (e.g., in the HVDC

as

application, N always equals several hundred), the THD of the

output voltage itself will be extremely low and even no ac filters idc = icj = Idc

are needed. As a result, the harmonics of the circulating current j =a,b,c

become the main problem, which should be controlled at smaller

(1)n E J2n +1N m M N2m

magnitudes to reduce loss and the current stress. From (24) and

Fig. 6, all the switching harmonics of the circulating current m =1 n =

mN L0 (N mc + (2n + 1 N m) o )

can be completely eliminated with the following displacement

N m ( )

angle: cos [N mc t + Q] sin

2

, N is odd

= N . (31) (2n + 1 N m) 2

2cos +1 . (37)

0, N is even 3

Under this condition, a pure circulating current can be Contrary with the line-to-line voltage, all the sideband har-

achieved without unwanted switching harmonics thus the dc monics of the dc-link current are eliminated except those at

filters are not necessary anymore. triplen frequency. From (24), the magnitude of the Nmth carrier

Meanwhile, with this displacement angle, the voltage har- group harmonics of the dc-link current can be obtained as

monics are maximums

Idc m n =

Vm n = Km n . (32)

)

3Hm n sin N m (

2 , if 2n + 1 N m = 0, 3, 6, . . .

D. Harmonic Features of the Line-to-Line Voltage and 0, else.

DC-Link Current of MMC with PSC Modulation

(38)

For a three-phase MMC system, the reference signals of phase

j (j {a, b, c}) can be obtained according to (12) and (13), Note that (36) and (38) are still a function of displacement

where the phase angle is given by angle , the output voltage harmonics minimization and circu-

lating current harmonics cancellation scheme as indicated above

2 2 are also valid for the line-to-line voltage and dc-link current.

a = 0, b = , c = + . (33)

3 3

From (20), the line-to-line output voltage can be calculated, V. PSC MODULATION FOR MMC WITH FULL-BRIDGE SMS

that is

Fig. 7 shows another SM configuration of MMC, the full-

3

bridge structure [5], [6]. Although it needs double the number of

uab = uoa uob = M E cos o t +

2 6 semiconductors compared to half-bridge MMC, the full-bridge

n MMC can reverse the polarity of the dc-link voltage and has

(1) 4E

+ sin [N mc t + Q ] the ability to cut off the dc-side short-circuit current easily by

m =1 n =

mN turning off all the IGBTs [36]. In other words, full-bridge MMC

is able to protect against dc network faults, which is an excellent

M N m N m ( )

J2n +1N m cos characteristic especially in HVDC applications. Moreover, the

2 2

full-bridge MMC can provide a boosted ac voltage which is

(2n + 1 N m) higher than the dc-link voltage [34]. It is, therefore, also a very

sin (34)

3 attractive topology for renewable power generation applications

LI et al.: ANALYSIS OF THE PHASE-SHIFTED CARRIER MODULATION FOR MODULAR MULTILEVEL CONVERTERS 303

3E M E

u (i) = + cos (o t + j ) + uref w j (i)

ref w j left 4N 4N

uref w j right (i) .

E ME

= + cos (o t+j +) uref w j (i)

4N 4N

(40)

Similarly, for the ith SM in the upper arm, that is

3E M E

uref u j left (i) = + cos (o t+j +)+uref u j (i)

4N 4N

Fig. 7. Configuration of a full-bridge SM. .

u E ME

ref u j right (i) = + cos (o t+j )uref u j (i)

4N 4N

(41)

Note that the capacitor voltage balancing method proposed

in Section III for half-bridge MMCs is also effective for full-

bridge MMCs and the reference adjustments uref w j (i) and

uref u j (i) can still be obtained from (14) and (15).

Thus, the output voltage and circulating current of phase j

can be obtained as (see Appendix B)

1 (1)N m +n 2E

uoj = M Ecos(o t + j ) +

2 m =1 n =

mN

M N m

J2n +1N m

2

cos [2N mc t + Q ] cos N m (42)

2

Idc

icj =

3

(1)N m +n E J2n +1N m (M N m/2)

m =1 n =

mN L0 (2N mc + (2n + 1 N m) o )

Fig. 8. PSC-PWM for MMC with full-bridge SMs. sin [2N mc t + Q ] sin N m (43)

2

where

where the dc-link voltage may vary in a wide range. In this

section, an extension of the PSC modulation for MMC with Q = (2n + 1 N m) (o t + j ) + N m . (44)

full-bridge SMs is performed, and the optimum displacement 2

angle to minimize the output voltage harmonics or to eliminate Comparing (42) and (43) to (20) and (21), it can be perceived

the circulating current is also deduced, respectively. that full-bridge MMC can double the frequency of the harmon-

ics of the output voltage as well as the circulating current, which

A. PSC for Full-Bridge MMC means a much smaller filter can satisfy the same THD require-

ments.

As shown in Fig. 8, the proposed PSC-PWM scheme of the

full-bridge MMC is basically the same as that of Fig. 3 except

for the following two modifications. One is that the carriers in B. Output Voltage Harmonics Minimization PSC Scheme

each arm are shifted by /N and the range of the displacement Similar with the derivation of (27), the output voltage har-

angle now is changed to monics minimization PSC scheme for full-bridge MMC is also

valid by revising the displacement angle as

0 . (39)

2N 0, N is odd

= . (45)

, N is even

2N

The other modification is that there are two reference signals

for each SM, one for the left bridge and the other for the right In this way, the lowest harmonic frequency of the output

bridge. With respect to the ith SM in the lower arm, these voltage can increase to 4N fc .

304 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 1, JANUARY 2015

For full-bridge MMC, all the switching harmonics of the

circulating current can also be eliminated when the displacement

angle is selected as

, N is odd

= 2N . (46)

0, N is even

MMC and Traditional PSC for CHB

At first sight, the proposed PSC scheme for full-bridge MMC

are quite similar with the traditional PSC scheme for CHB, as

they are both dealing with the full-bridge SM and both capable of

increasing the equivalent switching frequency. However, there

are marked differences between these two PSC schemes, and Fig. 9. Laboratory setup.

it is imperative to reveal them: (It is supposed that MMC and

TABLE I

CHB have the same number (2 N ) of full-bridge SMs within CIRCUIT PARAMETERS OF THE MMC PROTOTYPE

one phase. As a result, each arm of MMC contains N SMs.)

1) Carrier differences. For full-bridge MMC, the carriers are

distributed evenly among the N SMs within the same arm

(upper or lower), with the phase shift of /N . Meanwhile,

there should be an interleaved displacement angle be-

tween the upper-arm and lower-arm carriers, which needs

to be designed carefully to improve the output voltage (or

the circulating current) harmonic features. However, since

CHB does not have the dc terminal and therefore has no

circulating current, the traditional PSC scheme to CHB

only needs to take consideration of the output voltage har-

monics, where the carriers are distributed equally among

all the 2N SMs, with a phase shift of /2N [30].

2) Reference differences. It is easy to generate the references

for CHB, as all the 2N SMs are modulated using the same

sinusoidal reference. In contrast, with respect to MMC, the

references should be classified into the upper and the lower

arm, and a 1/4 dc voltage shift should also be introduced,

as shown in (40) and (41).

In order to verify the validity of the mathematical analysis

and the proposed PSC method, a three-phase MMC prototype

with three SMs per arm has been built, as shown in Fig. 9.

The circuit parameters and operating conditions are listed in Ta-

ble I. It should be noted that each SM of this prototype contains

four IGBTs so that both the half-bridge and the full-bridge SM

configuration can be verified in this prototype.

As for the controller, a TMS320F28335 DSP is used

to generate the three-phase sinusoidal references while an

EP3C25Q240C8 FPGA is adopted to generate the triangular

carriers as well as the reference adjustments for capacitor volt-

age balancing. Finally, the generated PWM signals are sent to

SMs via optical fibers.

Figs. 1014 show the experimental results of the prototype Fig. 10. Experimentally measured harmonic magnitudes with respect to :

with half-bridge SMs. Fig. 10 presents the harmonic magnitudes (a) harmonics of phase voltage and (b) harmonics of circulating current.

LI et al.: ANALYSIS OF THE PHASE-SHIFTED CARRIER MODULATION FOR MODULAR MULTILEVEL CONVERTERS 305

circulating current harmonics cancellation PSC-PWM: (a) phase voltage u o a

and circulating current ic a , (b) line-to-line voltage u a b and dc-link current id c , Fig. 13. Experimental waveforms of half-bridge MMC when applying the

(c) SM capacitor voltages of phase a, phase current io a , lower arm current iw a , output voltage harmonics minimization PSC-PWM: (a) phase voltage u o a and

and upper arm current iu a . circulating current ic a , (b) line-to-line voltage u a b and dc-link current id c ,

(c) SM capacitor voltages of phase a, phase current io a , lower arm current iw a ,

and upper arm current iu a .

These magnitudes are obtained by exporting the oscilloscope

waveforms to MATLAB and calculated by using the built-in

functions for discrete Fourier transform (i.e., fft(x)). Com-

paring Fig. 10 with Figs. 5(a) and 6(a), we can see that there

is a reasonably good agreement between the analytical and the

experimental curves. Please note that the measured magnitudes

of the harmonics are slightly different from the analytically cal-

culated values because of some non-ideal factors such as the

dead-time effect and the propagation delay of optical fibers.

Fig. 12. Measured harmonic spectrums of half-bridge MMC when applying Figs. 11 and 12 present the experimental results with the

the circulating current harmonics cancellation PSC-PWM: (a) phase voltage circulating current harmonics cancellation PSC scheme, where

u o a , (b) circulating current ic a , (c) line-to-line voltage u a b , and (d) dc-link

current id c .

the displacement angle is selected by (31) as = 60 . It should

be noted that the circulating current is obtained by the math

306 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 1, JANUARY 2015

the output voltage harmonics minimization PSC-PWM: (a) phase voltage u o a ,

(b) circulating current ic a , (c) line-to-line voltage u a b , (d) dc-link current id c .

lower arm currents (i.e., iu a + iw a ). Hence the magnitude of

the circulating current waveform is multiplied by 2 (i.e., 2

ica ). As shown in Fig. 11, there are basically no switching

harmonics in waveforms of the circulating current ica as well

as the dc-link current idc , which can be proved by the harmonic

spectrums in Fig. 12(b) and (d). Moreover, waveforms of uoa and

uab indicate that the phase voltage contains four voltage levels

while the line-to-line voltage has seven levels. The spectra of

uoa and uab in Fig. 12(a) and (c) indicate that the equivalent

switching frequency of the output voltage is about 3 kHz and

there are less harmonic components in uab because of the triplen

sideband harmonics cancellation between the phases. Fig. 11(c)

shows the six SM capacitor voltages in the upper and lower arms

of phase a. It can be seen that these capacitor voltages are kept

balanced with the capacitor voltage balancing method.

Although a 5% voltage ripple of the capacitor voltages can

be found in Fig. 12(c), the experimentally obtained harmonic

Fig. 15. Experimental waveforms of full-bridge MMC when applying the

spectrums still agree well with the theoretical analysis, which circulating current harmonics cancellation PSC-PWM, (a) phase voltage u o a

demonstrates the rationality of assuming an infinite SM capac- and circulating current ic a , (b) line-to-line voltage u a b and dc-link current id c ,

itance during the analysis in Section IV. In addition, as the (c) SM capacitor voltages of phase a, phase current io a , lower arm current iw a ,

and upper arm current iu a .

capacitor voltage ripples of the upper arm SMs and lower arm

SMs are opposite, there is an energy oscillation between these

two arms. As a result, we can see that ica and idc also both apparently much smaller than that of Fig. 11(c). Meanwhile, as

contain some low-frequency ripples (mainly second-order har- can be observed, there are significant switching ripples in the

monic for ica , and sixth-order harmonic for idc ). Note that these waveforms of ica and idc . Fig. 14(b) and (d) also show that

low-frequency current harmonics can be suppressed by increas- idc contains less harmonic components than ica because only

ing the inductance of the arm inductor or by adding additional triplen sideband harmonics exist in idc . In addition, the capacitor

control loops [19], [37][40]. voltages are also well balanced under this condition.

Figs. 13 and 14 show the experimental results when applying

the output voltage harmonics minimization PSC scheme, where

B. Experimental Results of MMC with Full-Bridge SMs

= 0 [see (27)]. Compared to Fig. 11, it is clear from Fig. 13

that the level number of uoa is increased to 7 and that of uab Experiments on the full-bridge MMC are also carried out in

is increased to 13, which means the voltage THD is apparently this research. The circuit parameters and operating conditions

reduced. This can be confirmed by the harmonic spectrums in are exactly same as those in Figs. 1114 while the only dif-

Fig. 14(a) and (c) that all the harmonics in the odd harmonic ference is that the half-bridge SMs are replaced by full-bridge

groups (i.e., 3 kHz, 9 kHz, 15 kHz, . . .) have disappeared and SMs.

the equivalent switching frequency of the output voltage rises Figs. 1518 show the experimental results of the full-bridge

to 6 kHz. The ripple of the phase current ioa in Fig. 13(c) is MMC. Note that the displacement angles of the output voltage

LI et al.: ANALYSIS OF THE PHASE-SHIFTED CARRIER MODULATION FOR MODULAR MULTILEVEL CONVERTERS 307

Fig. 16. Measured harmonic spectrums of full-bridge MMC when applying Fig. 18. Measured harmonic spectrums of full-bridge MMC when applying

the circulating current harmonics cancellation PSC-PWM: (a) phase voltage the output voltage harmonics minimization PSC-PWM: (a) phase voltage u o a ,

u o a , (b) circulating current ic a , (c) line-to-line voltage u a b , (d) dc-link current (b) circulating current ic a , (c) line-to-line voltage u a b , (d) dc-link current id c .

id c .

monics cancellation PSC scheme for full-bridge MMC are cal-

culated by (45) and (46), which are = 0 and = 30 , respec-

tively. It can be seen that the waveforms of full-bridge MMC

are quite similar to those in Figs. 11 and 13 except they look

much denser. This is due to the two times frequency increase

of the switching harmonics of the output voltage as well as the

circulating current (e.g., as shown in Fig. 18(a), the equivalent

switching frequency of uoa is around 12 kHz, which is twice

as much as that in Fig. 14(a). Thus, one can notice that full-

bridge MMC has better harmonic features than the half-bridge

MMC and can reduce the size of both the dc-side and the ac-

side filters. Moreover, it can be seen that the capacitor voltage

balancing method is still effective for MMC with full-bridge

SMs.

VII. CONCLUSION

This paper has presented a theoretical analysis of the PSC

modulation for the MMC. Basic operating principles of PSC

used in MMC and the corresponding capacitor voltage balanc-

ing method are introduced. The well-known Fourier series is

utilized to quantify the harmonic features of the output volt-

age as well as the circulating current. Then, it is found that

the harmonic magnitudes of the output voltage and the circu-

lating current are functions of the displacement angle between

the upper and lower arms. Based on the analysis, the optimum

displacement angles to minimize the output voltage harmonics

and to eliminate the switching harmonics of circulating current

are identified, respectively. Furthermore, harmonic characteris-

tics of the line-to-line voltage and the dc-link current are also

developed. With respect to MMC with full-bridge SMs, an ex-

tension of the PSC scheme is also proposed which can increase

the equivalent switching frequency and thus reduce the size of

required filters.

Fig. 17. Experimental waveforms of full-bridge MMC when applying the The validity of the mathematical analysis and the proposed

output voltage harmonics minimization PSC-PWM: (a) phase voltage u o a and

circulating current ic a , (b) line-to-line voltage u a b and dc-link current id c ,

methods are confirmed by experiments based on a three-phase

(c) SM capacitor voltages of phase a, phase current io a , lower arm current iw a , MMC prototype and we can draw the conclusion that the PSC

and upper arm current iu a . modulation is a flexible and effective PWM solution for MMCs.

308 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 1, JANUARY 2015

E ME 2E

uw j right (i) = cos(o t + j ) +

A. Derivation of (20) and (21) 4N 4N m =1 n =

mN

Substituting (18) and (19) into (4) and (5) leads to M m m

Jn sin +n

4 2 2

1 2E M N m

uoj = M Ecos(o t+j )+ Jn

2 mN 2 cos m c t+(i1) +n(o t+j +) .

m =1 n = N

(N m + n) (B2)

sin sin N mc t + n(o t + j )

2 Thus, the output voltage of the ith SM in the lower arm can

N m + n

then be obtained as

N m + n

+ sin (A1) E ME

2 2 uw j (i) = uw j left (i)uw j right (i) = + cos(o t+j )

2N 2N

4E M N m (N m + n)

uL j = Jn sin 2E M m

mN 2 2 + Jn

m =1 n =

m =1 n =

mN 4

N m + n 3m

m

cos N mc t + n(o t + j ) + sin +n n

(1) sin +n

2 2 2 2 2

N m + n

cos . (A2) cos m c t + (i 1) + n(o t + j ) .

2 N

(B3)

Substituting (A2) into (7), the circulating current icj can be

obtained as Once m is odd, uw j (i) is equal to zero. Then (B3) can be

revised by replacing m with 2m, that is

Idc E Jn M N2m E ME

icj = uw j (i) = + cos(o t + j )

3 m =1 n =

mN L0 (N mc + no ) 2N 2N

(N m + n) E M m

sin sin N mc t + n(o t + j ) + Jn

2 m =1 n =

mN 2

N m + n
N m + n sin (3m + n) (1)n sin (m + n)

+ cos . (A3) 2 2

2 2

cos 2m c t + (i 1) + n(o t + j ) .

If Nm + n is even, the term of sin [(Nm + n)/2] in (A1) N

and (A3) will be zero, leaving only (2n + 1 Nm)th sideband (B4)

harmonics of the Nmth carrier groups.

As a result, by modifying n into 2n + 1 Nm, (A1) and Furthermore, if m + n is even, (B4) will also be zero. Thus,

(A3) can be presented as (20) and (21). by modifying n into 2n + 1m, it becomes

E ME (1)m +n 2E

APPENDIX B uw j (i) = + cos(o t+j )+

2N 2N m =1 n =

mN

M m

B. Derivation of (42) and (43) J2n +1m cos 2m c t+(i1)

2 N

Using the reference signals as given in (40), the output voltage

of the left bridge of the ith SM in the lower arm, uw j left (i) can + (2n + 1 m) (o t + j ) . (B5)

be expressed by Fourier series as

By summing the output voltages of N SMs, the lower arm

3E ME 2E voltage can be obtained as

uw j left (i) = + cos(o t + j ) +

4N 4N mN

N

m =1 n = E ME

uw j = uw j (i) = + cos(o t + j )

M m 3m 2 2

Jn sin +n i=1

4 2 2

(1)N m +n 2E M N m

+ J2n +1N m

cos m c t + (i 1) + n(o t + j ) m =1 n =

mN 2

N

(B1) cos [2N mc t + (2n + 1 N m) (o t + j )] . (B6)

LI et al.: ANALYSIS OF THE PHASE-SHIFTED CARRIER MODULATION FOR MODULAR MULTILEVEL CONVERTERS 309

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bridge-cells (MMCI-DSBC), IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. 50, no. 1, Gaolin Wang (M13) received the B.S., M.S., and

pp. 509519, Jan./Feb. 2014. Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Harbin

[35] D. G. Holmes and T. A. Lipo, Pulse Width Modulation for Power Con- Institute of Technology, Harbin, China, in 2002, 2004,

verters. Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE Press, 2003, pp. 99104. and 2008, respectively.

[36] G. Adam, K. Ahmed, N. Singh, S. Finney, and B. Williams, H-bridge In 2009, he joined the Department of Electrical

modular multilevel converter (M2 C) for high-voltage applications, in Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, as a

Proc. 21st Int. Conf. Exhib. Electricity Distribution, Jun. 2011. Lecturer, where he has been an Associate Professor

[37] M. Zhang, L. Huang, W. Yao, and Z. Lu, Circulating harmonic current of Electrical Engineering since 2012. From 2009 to

elimination of a CPS-PWM-based modular multilevel converter with a 2012, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Shanghai STEP

plug-in repetitive controller, IEEE Trans. Power Electron., vol. 29, no. 4, Electric Corporation. He has authored or coauthored

pp. 20832097, Apr. 2014. more than 30 technical papers published in journals

[38] M. Vasiladiotis, N. Cherix, and A. Rufer, Accurate capacitor voltage and conference proceedings. He is the holder of seven Chinese patents. His

ripple estimation and current control considerations for grid-connected current research interests include permanen-magnet synchronous motor drives,

modular multilevel converters, IEEE Trans. Power Electron., to be pub- high-performance direct drive for traction system, position sensorless control

lished. of ac motors, and efficiency optimization control of interior PMSM.

[39] Z. Li, P. Wang, Z. Chu, H. Zhu, Y. Luo, and Y. Li, An inner current sup-

pressing method for modular multilevel converters, IEEE Trans. Power

Electron., vol. 28, no. 11, pp. 48734879, Nov. 2013.

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M. Molinas, An energy-based controller for HVDC modular multilevel

converter in decoupled double synchronous reference frame for voltage os-

cillations reduction, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 60, no. 6, pp. 2360

2371, Jun. 2013.

China, in 1963. She received the B.S. degree in au-

tomatic test and control, the M.S. degree in electri-

Binbin Li was born in 1989. He received the B.S. and cal engineering, and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical

M.S. degrees in electrical engineering in 2010 and electronic engineering from Harbin Institute of Tech-

2012, respectively, from the Harbin Institute of Tech- nology, Harbin, China, in 1984, 1990, and 2002, re-

nology, Harbin, China, where he is currently working spectively.

toward the Ph.D. degree. Since 2003, she has been a Professor with the De-

His current research interests include high-power partment of Electrical Engineering, Harbin Institute

electronics, multilevel converters, control algorithms, of Technology. Her current research interests include

and PWM techniques. soft-switching converters, digital control electronic

ballast, and regenerative energy converter technique.

degrees all in engineering physics from the Tsinghua

University, Beijing, China, in 2001, 2003, and 2006,

respectively.

In 2006, he joined the Department of Electrical Dianguo Xu (M97SM12) received the B.S. de-

Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, gree in control engineering from Harbin Engineering

China, as a Lecturer, where he finished the post- University, Harbin, China, in 1982, and the M.S. and

doctoral work. His current research interests include Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Harbin

sensorless induction motors control and high-power Institute of Technology (HIT), Harbin, China, in 1984

medium-voltage application. and 1989, respectively.

In 1984, he joined the Department of Electrical

Engineering, HIT, as an Assistant Professor, where

he has been a Professor since 1994. He was the Dean

of School of Electrical Engineering and Automation,

HIT, from 2000 to 2010. He is currently the Assis-

Dandan Xu was born in Xinjiang, China, in 1990. tant President of HIT. His current research interests include renewable en-

She received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering ergy generation technology, multiterminal HVDC system based on VSC, power

in 2013 from Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, quality mitigation, speed sensorless vector-controlled motor drives, and high-

China, where she is currently working toward the performance PMSM servo system. He has authored or coauthored over 600

M.S. degree. technical papers.

Her current research interests include modular Dr. Xu is an Associate Editor for the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL

multilevel converter. ELECTRONICS. He is the Chairman of the IEEE Harbin Section, the Director

of Lighting Power Supply Committee of CPSS, the Vice-director of Electric

Automation Committee of CAA, Electrical Control System and Equipment

Committee of CES, and Power Electronics Committee of CES.

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