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A New Architecture for Offshore Wind Farms

Anish Prasai, Student Member, IEEE, Jung-Sik Yim, Student Member, IEEE, Deepak Divan, Fellow, IEEE, Ashish Bendre, Member, IEEE, and Seung-Ki Sul, Fellow, IEEE

AbstractOffshore wind farms using HVDC links can be positioned a large distance from shore, opening up new opportunities for wind generation. Conventional approaches using 60 Hz generators and transformers are not appropriate in such applications, as they are heavy and result in expensive and complex installation and maintenance issues. This paper proposes an alternative architecture for such wind farms, using permanent magnet generators, medium frequency transformers and simple power converters to realize a compact and light system. It is possible that in the long term, the proposed approach may prove attractive for land-based wind farms as well. Index TermsDC power systems, HVDC, offshore wind farm, permanent magnet (PM) machine, wind power generation.
Fig. 1. Block diagrams of (a) a conventional windmill with DFIG and 50 Hz transformer and (b) an offshore wind farm with single converter station.


OCIETYS quest for sustainable energy moves us strongly towards carbon-neutral renewable sources such as wind and photovoltaics. Wind energy in particular, has shown strong growth and penetration, with several technologies showing sound economic fundamentals, even in the presence of minimal government subsidies. Signicant levels of wind-penetration are being seen in Denmark and Germany, with similar high levels targeted in many countries over the next two decades. As the world moves towards higher level of penetration of wind resources on the grid, there is increasing pressure to locate the large wind farms offshore, where the issues of noise and the impact on the landscape are somewhat ameliorated. Several offshore wind farms have been recently completed, providing experience of the challenges faced and the solutions needed. It is well recognized that offshore wind farms located more than 20 miles from land, benet from transmitting power using a dc link, with a dcac interface provided by a converter station located on land [1], [2]. The current approach mimics the land-based wind-farm, and uses doubly fed induction generators to provide 60 Hz output at each wind turbine, couples that with a 60 Hz transformer, and then brings all the individual windmill feeds onto a acdc conversion platform, where the power is transferred through yet another transformer and is then converted to a dc voltage [3][5]. Such a topology is portrayed in Fig. 1.

Such a system extracts severe penalties in terms of weight and size, critical parameters in offshore applications, where the cost of installation and servicing are exorbitantly high. For instance, in the April 2002 installation in Horns Rev, the topside (above the waterline) weight of the transformer module was in excess of 1000 tons [6], all of which had to be supported on a separate platform on the ocean. Further, the combined weight of the 3 MW generator (doubly-fed induction machine) and 60 Hz transformer used on a windmill is estimated to be 15 000 kg (15 tons) by the authors. Designing the tower and the foundations to carry the weight, and the logistics of installing, repairing and replacing components at sea, pose a signicantly higher level of cost and complexity than on land. However, in an effort to use the experience with land-based wind-farms, most designs for off-shore wind-farms have used the conventional DFIG or PM machine based architecture [8]. II. PROPOSED OFFSHORE WIND FARM TOPOLOGY This paper proposes a different approach that uses permanent magnet machines with a high pole number as the primary generator. Such machines, rated at 0.75 to 8 MW, and used in naval ship-board and gas line compressor applications, tend to feature high power density, and have exhibited high reliability and robustness in demanding applications. An overall system schematic is shown in Fig. 2, where it may be seen that each windmill converts its available power into dc, using either a series or shunt connection to the dc system with a voltage of 60130 kV. The target capacity of such an offshore wind-farm is in the 100200 MW range, requiring 5070 windmills to realize the system. A key distinguishing feature is that no central converter platform is required, and that individual wind turbines are signicantly lighter and smaller. Issues of failures and fault management will be addressed later in the paper. The proposed generator, shown in Fig. 3(a), is rated at 750 kW at a speed of 4000 rpm requiring a gear box with a gear ratio similar to current windmill designs (1:200). The generators can be stacked together on a common shaft to scale the power up to 3 MW or more. The weight of each generator is 340 kg, for a

Manuscript received October 22, 2007; revised January 14, 2008. This paper was presented at EPE07, Aalborg, Denmark, September 25, 2007. This work was supported by the The Intelligent Power Infrastructure Consortium (IPIC), Georgia Tech. Recommended for publication by Associate Editor J. Guerrero. A. Prasai and D. Divan are with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta GA 30332 USA (e-mail:; J.-S. Yim and S.-K. Sul are with Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea. A. Bendre is with DRS Technologies, Milwaukee, WI 53216 USA. Digital Object Identier 10.1109/TPEL.2008.921194

0885-8993/$25.00 2008 IEEE




Fig. 2. Proposed wind farm topology with (a) a windmill unit with PM generator and MF transformer and (b) an offshore wind farm using series or shunt connected turbines.

levels, ability to scale to high power levels, and may provide a suitable means to realize the high-voltage isolation necessary in such applications. Design methodology for such a medium frequency transformer was rst explored in [8], and is considered later in the paper. The estimated weight and size of a 3 MW 1200 Hz transformer is less than 8% of what a comparable transformer would be at 50 Hz. The use of liquid cooling could provide even further reduction in weight and size (1)
Fig. 3. (a) Photograph of the PM generator and (b) dimension of the stacked PM machines.

(2) (3) (4) where and and axis currents and voltages; axis inductances;

Fig. 4. (a) Schematic of the mechanical aspect of the proposed wind energy conversion architecture and (b) the corresponding two-mass representation used in the system modeling.

resistance of the stator windings; angular velocity of the rotor; amplitude of the ux induced by the permanent magnet; number of pole pairs; electromagnetic Torque; combined inertia of the generator and the turbine; combined viscous friction of the generator and turbine; shaft mechanical torque. III. POWER CONVERSION SYSTEM A simple power conversion function is required to provide controlled power ow into a regulated dc voltage or current (depending on whether a shunt or series connection is used) [9][12]. The converter needs to also provide active torque control for smoothing out impact-torque on the shaft and the gearbox, and providing speed control for the blades. A simple

total machine weight of 1360 kg at 3 MW, signicantly lower than with a conventional DFIG or gearbox-less PM machine design. Also, the size of the 3 MW stack is compact, estimated at less than 1.8 meters in length, and 0.79 meters in diameter. Fig. 3(b) shows the dimensions of a generator stack capable of 3 MW, and the relevant machine specications in Table I. Such an arrangement provides higher reliability through redundancy. The electro-mechanical model of the machine is described by (1)(4). The machine is modeled along with the turbine and gear-train using two-mass representation as depicted in Fig. 4. The generator is liquid cooled, and has an output frequency of 1200 Hz at maximum power, which decreases linearly with ratio as generator speed decreases, down to a constant roughly 300 Hz for a cut-in wind speed of 4 m/s. This allows the use of a medium frequency transformer on the generator output to provide the isolation. Coaxial winding transformers promise robust structures with low and controlled leakage inductance, sufcient clearance to achieve the required isolation



Fig. 6. Waveforms observed during the operation of the converter where (a) line to line voltage, V , (b) phase A current of the machine, i , and the transformer, i , (c) current owing through neutral of the machine, and (d) output dc voltage regulated at 5.5 kV.

Fig. 5. Circuit conguration of the PM machine driven ac-to-dc converter with (a) a detailed, single generator conguration and (b) a four generator, phase-byphase stacking, where SMx stands for switch module x.

single switch converter, as shown in Fig. 5, per generator, can provide all the control requirements. The switch, embedded in a diode bridge, is switched at a constant frequency, with a duty cycle that is controlled to control the power ow into the dc system. This switch, which would be implemented with an IGBT, can be placed either on the primary side of the medium-frequency transformer, as shown in Fig. 5(a), or it can be placed on the secondary side before the single phase rectication takes place. However, it is anticipated that locating the switch on the primary side would be more advantageous due to fewer switch counts, lower device stresses, and subsequent complexity reduction in high voltage design of the dc side. An IGBT rated at 1200 V and 8001000 A such as the ones sold by Inneon (models FZ800R12KF4 and FZ1050R12KF4) can be utilized as the embedded switch. High power diode modules can be bought and congured as two- and three-phase bridges using devices such as the one sold by Dynex Semiconductor rated at 1400 V and 866 A under the part number DS502ST. The conguration to electrically stack four PM generators is depicted by Fig. 5(b), where a particular phase of each generator is stacked to the same phase of the other three generators through the medium frequency transformers which are connected in parallel on the primary and in series on the secondary. The nal dc output of a wind mill is obtained by stacking the output of each of the phases together through single phase diode bridges and capacitors.

Machine inductance and transformer leakage inductance are both modeled, and represent the most signicant parasitics that need to be handled. The IGBT is run in simple constant duty cycle mode, providing a boost converter function, allowing the voltage on the series connected dc output or the instantaneous machine torque to be regulated. It is proposed that the IGBT be switched so as to switch at a triplen frequency relative to the machine, so that individual phases are symmetrically affected. For a 1200 Hz maximum electrical frequency, this corresponds to 3.6 kHz, well within the capacity of currently available high-voltage IGBT technology. It is of course possible to switch the IGBT at a substantially higher frequency, but it is possible that this will create signicant issues with switching losses and with energy trapped in the machine and transformer leakage inductances. Fig. 6 shows waveforms, indicating impact of switch operation. With the machine and transformer inductances modeled, turn-on of the switch causes current to transfer from the transformer to the switch. This mode allows current in the machine winding to build up, much as in the case of a boost dcdc converter. When the switch S is turned off, the switch current ows and capacitor, , impressing voltage into the diode across the transformer. This in turn, forces current to build up in the leakage inductance of the transformer until the current is transferred from the diode bridge DB to the transformer. The per switching cycle for the simplied energy transferred to case is shown in Fig. 7. This energy needs to be recovered with minimal losses if system efciency is to be maintained high. A simple energy recovery circuit is proposed in Fig. 8. The voltage, , provides dc power for a single-phase half bridge inverter that couples a voltage between the neutrals of the stacked machines and neutral of the transformers. The machine neutral current is seen



Fig. 9. Single-phase coaxial winding power transformers (a) layout and cross section, with (b) ABBs HVDC light cables [13] used as the inner winding.

Fig. 7. Simplied switching waveforms of the converter with line to line voltage of the machine given by V (top and middle) where the middle plot is redrawn as a dc case, with phase A machine current given by I , and phase A transformers primary current given by I (bottom).


Fig. 10. System simulation block diagram. Fig. 8. Half-bridge inverter utilized as energy recovery circuit.

to be rich in third harmonic current because of the modulation of switch S. The injected third harmonic voltage provides real and the system, allowing a recircupower exchange between . This inverter is rated at lation of the power trapped in of the machine rating and allows the use of a simple cost-effective power converter topology. An inductor is introduced in the neutral path between the machines and the transformers in order to keep the third harmonic current continuous, which ensures the proper operation of the energy recovery circuit. The wind-farm can be architected as series or shunt connection of individual windmills. While both are technically feasible, the light-load efciency and fault-recovery modes for seriesconnected systems appear to be more challenging. This paper thus focuses rst on the implementation of shunt connected windmills, feeding into a common dc voltage in the range of 30100 kV dc. In order to achieve a dc output voltage in the 30100 kV range, a signicant number of issues have to be tackled. The output is achieved through the use of series-connected diode bridges, as shown in Fig. 5 for one generator. The four generators in the stack each have a set of three diode bridges in series, providing a voltage multiplication of 12 over

a single bridge output, and 24 if voltage doublers are used. Further, the output topology with a pure C lter, easily absorbs energy trapped due to leakage inductance of the transformer and diode reverse recovery. Finally, the three stacked windings provide phase cancellation for the low frequency components transferred through the single phase transformers [7]. Another signicant challenge is the transformer design, keeping in mind the level of isolation between primary and levels. An interesting secondary side, and the switching option is the use of a coaxial winding transformer (CWT), with metglas or other amorphous metal cores, an outer copper tube as one of the windings, and a high voltage insulated cable with sufcient shielding and dielectric withstand capability as the secondary winding [8], [9]. Fig. 9(a) shows a cross-section of a single phase coaxial transformer. Recent development of extruded polymer cables from ABB for HVDC Light applications, as shown in Fig. 9(b), feature a diameter of 43 mm with current carrying capacity of greater than 1000 A at voltages of 160 kV [13]. An example of a CWT design for 280 kVA (800 V line to line at 350 A) single phase at 1200 Hz is shown in Table II. This single phase transformer module can provide the building block for the overall dc output stage. Details of the



Fig. 11. Simulation results (a) wind speed, (b) output current and reference, (c) rotating speed of the wind blade, and (d) generated power.

output system implementation will be covered in a subsequent paper. This section has discussed the feasibility and possible implementation of the needed power conversion stage of a PM generator based high voltage dc windmill. The single device per generator provides a simple and effective controller, allowing output voltage control as well as torque control on the shaft. This capability will be demonstrated next. IV. SYSTEM SIMULATION The block diagram used in the simulation of the proposed topology is shown in Fig. 10. The simulation includes a two mass representation of the turbine and blade, the gear box for a representative 3 MW machine, but includes the machine parameters for a single 750 kVA machine. A detailed generator model is available and is used. The power converter and transformer were also simulated, using a simple single device isolated boost converter as discussed above, including the isolation function provided by the transformer, but not including the details of the snubber and clamp circuits. The system is well behaved under start-up and normal operating conditions, showing full speed and dynamic torque control capability. The dc side of the system is assumed shunt connected with other wind turbines, and exhibits good control. The dc side can also be series connected without loss of control capability. Of particular importance in the simulation has been the ability to control the plant in the face of signicant impact torque caused by wind gusts. Fig. 11 shows controlled operation of the wind turbine, and demonstrates its behavior under a wind gust condition. Fig. 11(a) shows a wind-gust that is modeled as a pulse function. Fig. 11(b) and (d) shows the controller ramping down the output current and power,

respectively, supplied to the dc bus in a controlled manner. The ability of the output to be well insulated from the disturbance is clearly shown. When congured with a constant pitch angle, Fig. 11(c) shows the rotating speed of the blade slowing down when the wind goes down, and speeding back up when the wind picks up again. As can be observed, the output current tracks the reference fairly well even with the step change in the wind speed. Further, even when faced with uctuating wind conditions, the output power is regulated fairly well with a simple, single switch based power electronic topology. The generated power mimics the output current waveform due to the fact that the load is modeled using a constant voltage source in the simulation. It is seen that the system is highly controllable, with good steady state performance, as well as fast control to dynamic disturbances such as wind gusts. Similar performance can be seen with a shunt connection. V. IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES The simulations clearly show the potential for the proposed system to provide good controllability and performance, as well as signicant gains in weight and size, when compared with conventional 50/60 Hz ac systems. Elimination of the bulky 50/60 Hz transformer and the ability to use higher efciency and smaller PM machines and medium frequency transformers provides much of the gain. The simplication of the power converter reduces cost and complexity. Complicated methodologies of locating and isolating dc faults in a multi-terminal dc system discussed in [14] is not necessary due to the simplicity of the proposed converter. Faults on the machine side can be fully isolated from the dc side, and the absence of active elements on the dc side prevent dc side fault current contributions from crossing



the high frequency isolation barrier. Series and shunt connections are possible and need to be further explored from a systems optimization perspective. Signicant practical issues need to be addressed before a clear trade-off can be obtained on the merits and issues associated with such a radically new design approach. One of the more demanding specications for the transformer is the isolation required between the dc side and the generator side. Another issue is the need to disconnect a windmill from the dc system in case of a fault. It is likely that the series connection may provide a simpler realization in terms of fault management and clearing. The issue of power converter and machine cooling is also important. While dissipation of system losses using liquid cooling is simple and practical, the possible impact of additional heat sources in the ocean also needs to be analyzed. Perhaps the most important issue is whether a series or shunt system at the windmill level is more advantageous. This would require a thorough analysis of cost, fault modes, reliability and repair time. Finally, alternative solutions that group multiple wind turbines together, performing a dcdc conversion function at medium frequency, should also be considered, as the cost of realizing greater than 300 kV BIL rating on the transformer could be contained in a limited number of locations. VI. CONCLUSION It is clear that as offshore wind farms are implemented, the initial approach being considered is to extend the tried and proven techniques from land to the sea. However, for transmission of power over long distances, it is clear that HVDC would provide an attractive alternative. Once the decision is made to implement a dc link, there is no reason to sustain a 50/60 Hz nominal frequency at the windmill. It has been shown here that very signicant gains in weight and size of the generator and the transformer can be realized if one moves to a medium frequency PM generator and transformer. It has been shown that with both a series or shunt connected system topology, it may be possible to completely eliminate the large and expensive transformer and converter station. An overall system was simulated, including a detailed machine model, as well as the blades, gear-box and other electromechanical components of the proposed system. The power converter was seen to be simple, and provided excellent control characteristics. The machine and medium frequency transformer are seen to be compact and light-weight. The simulation results validate the excellent dynamic performance of the proposed system topology. More detailed analysis of system level issues including fault management, unit bypass, maintenance, eld replacement, etc. needs to be done before a fractional scale implementation will be built. While this paper has discussed an offshore wind-farm implementation, it is clear that such architecture can be effectively deployed for land-based wind-farms as well. This is of particular importance when the wind-farm is located some distance from the load centers. Conversion of wind-power to HVDC at the tower minimizes the size and cost of the electronics and magnetics, and allows transportation of the power as dc power over long distances. At a system level, this would provide lower cost, better control and more exibility in locating wind-farms away from load pockets.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors wish to thank J. M. Guerrero and Z. Chen for considering this paper for the Power Electronics for Wind Energy Conversion Special Section of this issue. REFERENCES
[1] A. B. Morton, S. Cowdroy, J. R. A. Hill, M. Halliday, and G. D. Nicholson, AC or dc economics of grid connection design for offshore wind farms, in Proc. IEE Int. Conf. AC DC Power Transm., Mar. 2006, pp. 236240. [2] N. M. Kirby, X. Lie, M. Luckett, and W. Siepmann, HVDC transmission for large offshore wind farms, Power Eng. J., vol. 16, pp. 135141, Jun. 2002. [3] G. Fujita, K. Ezaki, T. Nakano, R. Yokoyama, K. Koyanagi, and T. Funabashi, Dynamic characteristic of frequency control by rotary frequency converter to link wind farm and power system, in Proc. IEEE Bologna Power Tech Conf., Jun. 2003, vol. 2, pp. 712. [4] D. Jovcic, Interconnecting offshore wind farms using multiterminal VSC-based HVDC, in Proc. IEEE Power Eng. Soc. General Meeting, Jun. 2006, pp. 17. [5] F. Lin, M. Zhiwen, Y. Xiaojie, and Z. Trillion, The grid connected converter control of multi-terminal dc system for wind farms, in Proc. Int. Conf. Elect. Mach. Syst., Sep. 2005, vol. 2, pp. 10211023. [6] Smits World, Horns Rev Windfarm-Transformer Station, Smit Internationale, 2002 [Online]. Available: http://www.smit-international. com/sitefactor/page.asp?PageID=187 [7] Z. Chen and E. Spooner, Grid interface options for variable-speed, permanent magnet generators, Proc. Inst. Elect. Eng., vol. 145, no. 4, pp. 273283, Jul. 1998. [8] M. H. Kheraluwala, D. W. Novotny, and D. M. Divan, Co-axially wound transformers for high power high frequency applications, IEEE Trans. Power Electron., vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 5462, Jan. 1992. [9] A. Bendre, I. Wallace, G. Luckjiff, S. Norris, R. Gascoigne, D. Divan, and R. Cuzner, Design considerations for a soft-switched modular 2.4 MVA medium voltage drive, IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 14001411, Oct. 2002. [10] R. DeDoncker, D. M. Divan, and M. Kheraluwala, A three phase soft switched high power density DC/DC converter for high power applications, IEEE Trans. Ind. All. Soc., vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 6373, Jan./Feb. 1991. [11] C. Meyer, M. Hoing, A. Peterson, and R. W. De Doncker, Control and design of dc grids for offshore wind farms, IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. 43, no. 6, pp. 14751482, Nov. 2007. [12] A. Prasad, P. Ziogas, and S. Manias, Analysis and design of a threephase off-line DCDC converter with high-frequency isolation, IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 824832, Jul./Aug. 1999. [13] Submarine Cables, ABB, The ABB Group, 2007 [Online]. Available: [14] L. Tang and B.-T. Ooj, Locating and isolating dc faults in multi-terminal dc systems, IEEE Trans. Power Delivery, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 18771884, Jul. 2007. Anish Prasai (S07) received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering (with focus in power electronics) from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. His current research interests include grid and industrial application of power electronics.

Jung-Sik Yim (S07) was born in Masan, Korea, in 1978. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, in 2001 and 2003, respectively, where he is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree. He was with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia institute of Technology, Atlanta, as a Visiting Scholar from 2005 to 2006. His research interest is high-speed machine control.



Deepak M. Divan (S78M78SM91F98) is a Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the IPIC Consortium, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta. He is Chairman and Chief Technology Ofcer for Innovolt, Atlanta. From 1995 to 2004, he was Chairman and CEO/CTO of Soft Switching Technologies, a company in the industrial power quality market. His research interests are in the application of power electronics for power quality, power reliability, and utility and industrial applications. He has published more than 200 papers and has 28 issued and four pending patents. Dr. Divan received the 2006 IEEE William E. Newell Award for contributions in power electronics. He is a Member at Large of the IEEE Power Electronics Society and is PESC Steering Committee Chair for the society. He is Technical Chair for the 1991 PESC Conference and Chairman and Transactions Editor for the IAS-IPCC committee.

ment with DRS Power and Control Technologies, Milwaukee, WI, where he manages and conducts research focused on naval power conversion. His primary areas of interest include power electronics and control design for multilevel converters, dcdc converters, and power quality devices.

Ashish Bendre (S01M03) received the B.Tech. degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 1990, the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1992 and 2003, respectively, and is currently pursuing theM.B.A. degree at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. He has over 12 years of industrial power converter design and development experience, primarily with Pillar Technologies and SoftSwitching Technologies. He is currently the Director of research and develop-

Seung-Ki Sul (S78M80SM98F00) was born in Korea in 1958. He received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, in 1980, 1983, and 1986, respectively. From 1986 to 1988, he was an Associate Researcher with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison. From 1988 to 1990, he was a Principal Research Engineer with Gold-Star Industrial Systems Company. Since 1991, he has been a member of the faculty of the School of Electrical Engineering, Seoul National University, where he is currently a Professor. His current research interests are power electronic control of electric machines, electric/hybrid vehicle drives, and power-converter circuits.