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A New Cascaded Multilevel Inverter Topology with Voltage Sources Arranged in Matrix Structure
A New Cascaded Multilevel Inverter Topology with Voltage Sources Arranged in Matrix Structure
Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology. 2015. Jul, 10(4): 1552-1557
Copyright © 2015, The Korean Institute of Electrical Engineers
This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
  • Received : October 22, 2014
  • Accepted : January 29, 2015
  • Published : July 01, 2015
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About the Authors
Thamizharasan. S
Dept. of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Adhiparasakthi Engineering college, Melmaruvathur, India. (baski11@gmail.com)
Baskaran. J
Dept. of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, RMD Engineering College, Chennai, India. (ramme04@gmail.com)
Ramkumar. S
Corresponding Author: Dept. of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Surya Group of Institutions, Vikravandi, India. (thamizharasan.s @gmail.com)

Abstract
The paper unleashes a new idea to arrive at reduced switch count topological structures configured in the form of a matrix for a cascaded Multi level inverter (CMLI). The theory encircles to minimize the number of switches involved in the conduction path and there from acclaim reduced input current distortion, lower switching losses and electromagnetic interference. The focus extends to standardize the number of power devices required for reaching different levels of output voltage from the same architecture. It includes appropriate pulse width modulation (PWM) strategy to generate firing pulses and ensure the desired operation of the power modules. The investigative study carries with it MATLAB based simulation and experimental results obtained using suitable prototypes to illustrate the viability of the proposed concept. The promising nature of the performance projects a new dimension in the use of single phase MLIs for renewable energy related applications.
Keywords
1. Introduction
The crunching energy imbalance emphasizes the continuing need to explore the relevance of solar and wind energy for augmenting the traditional resources of generation. The nefarious effects of green house gases along with a strong requirement for alternate sources further enforce a line of action to contemplate on the effective use of the available non- conventional recap of power.
The direction forges on the inexplicable role of converter interfaces in view of the emergence of the HVDC transmission systems for transferring the power to the load outfits. Though elaborate exercise persists in improving the operational modalities of the power electronic circuits, still efforts to enhance the efficiency of power transformation invite renewed attention.
Multilevel inverters (MLIs) expose a different embodiment of synthesizing the output voltage to suit specific application details. Their capabilities owe to cater the high power high voltage attributes without in way harming the voltage limit capability of power devices. The benefits corner to support superior power quality, lesser electro-magnetic interference, low power loss and high voltage blocking capability [1 , 2] .
A three level neutral point clamped inverter the first of its kind in MLI series, patented by Nabae in 1980s utilizes a series of capacitor banks to split the dc link voltages and inherits the possibility of voltage unbalance of dc-link capacitors [3] . Baker and Banister in 1975 patented a CMLI to synthesize a staircase voltage [1] , which requires multi-winding transformer for each isolated H- bridges and suffers from the excess use of H- bridges for a given number of voltage levels. Maynard and Foch discovered flying capacitor MLI using floating capacitors to clamp the voltage levels that augur to pre charge the capacitors and exhibits voltage balancing problems between the capacitors [4] .
A host of MLI topologies have been suggested from a combination of basic topologies [5 - 11] which constitute a family of cascaded 3/2 inverters and a series combination of two level inverter with five level NPC inverter named as 5/3 MLI. The growth has been registered through the use of multi-winding transformer to produce multilevel output, but accompany the drawbacks of design complexity [12 , 13] . A mathematical approach has been presented in [14] to determine the minimum number of power switches or dc sources to produce a given voltage levels, the disadvantage being the need to avail power components of different voltage rating and connect inverter circuits in series.
Several asymmetrical topologies have been brought out along with a requirement for high frequency switching devices and ability to withstand overall voltage, which restricts their use for high voltage applications [15 - 20] . A topology based on series parallel connection of dc sources to produce higher number of levels has not been in surface due to the different rating of power components and its associated increase in the overall cost [15] .
The review tales out that the major disadvantage of multilevel inversion echoes to the higher number of semiconductor devices required and explicates to trace a path for decreasing the use of power switches in each sequence of operation to accrue the designed level of output voltage.
The primary endeavor encompasses to evolve a single phase symmetrical CMLI topology in the form of a matrix with reverse connected voltage sources and facilitate it to synthesize different voltage levels. The proposed topology offers same number of dc sources and rectifiers for ‘m’ level with reduced switch count/gate drivers in comparison to cascaded MLI. It fosters to reduce the number of power devices in each current conduction path and attempt to minimize the related gate drive circuitry to enjoy efficient operation of the power circuitry. The strategy envisages the use of a general multicarrier phase disposition PWM (PDPWM) to drive the inverter and articulate on simulation and experimental evaluation procedures to extradite the new approach.
2. Proposed Topology
The main theme centers to spring up with a generalized structure for a single phase CMLI suitable to offer varying levels of output voltage. The key philosophy revolves around the arrangement of power switches in the form of an appropriate matrix model (k×j) and attaches voltage sources in the topology to replicate variable frequency variable amplitude voltage of any level.
The module seen in Fig. 1 imbibes voltage sources (V 1, 1 −V 1, n1 ), (V 2, 1 −V 2, n2 ), (V k, 1 −V k, nj ) isolated from each other and connected in series to form each row of the architecture. The multiple isolated dc sources can easily be rigged through renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panels or fuel cells or with energy storage devices such as capacitors or batteries. The front line switches (S 1, 1 , S 1, n1+1 ) and (S k+1, 1 , S k+1, nj+1 ) comprise the top and bottom of the circuit and the intermediate switches (S 2, 1 , S 2, n2+1 ) and (S k, 1 , S k, nj+1 ) connect the voltage sources to the load. The Fig. 2 (a) shows the structure for nine levels with four isolated dc sources and only twelve switches to produce nine levels. The devices (S 3,1 , S 2,1 and S 1,3 ) seen in Fig. 2 (b) conduct to produce (V 1,1 and V 1,2 ) in the output voltage. In light of the fact that the body diode in the device (S 1,2 ) is forward biased due to the presence of the voltage source (V 1,2 ), it erupts to create inter-looping problems. Therefore bidirectional devices are only appropriate in the intermediate column to protect the voltage sources from inter looping problems. The topology can be easily extended to higher voltage levels by duplicating the middle stage as represented using enclosed circle in the same figure.
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Generalized topology
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Schematic of nine level inverter topology
The operating modes for each level seen through Figs. 3 and 7 transcend the realities in the formulation and serve to establish the niceties in the methodology. The switches S 3, 1 , S 2, 1 and S 1, 3 in Fig. 4 are switched on to produce level 2 in the output voltage. The operational pattern as observed from the Figs. 3 to 7 explain the need for only three devices to switch in all the voltage levels and the minimal switching transition during each mode transfer which can help to decrease switching power dissipation.
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Operating mode for level 1: (a) +V1, 1 (b) −V1, 1
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Operating mode for level 2: (a) +(V1,1+V1,2) (b) −(V1, 1+V1, 2)
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Operating mode for level 3: (a) + (V1, 1+V1, 2+V2, 1) (b) −(V1, 1+ V1, 2+ V2, 1)
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Operating mode for level 4: (a) +(V1, 1+ V1, 2+ V2, 1 + V2, 2) (b) −(V1, 1+ V1, 2+ V2, 1+ V2, 2)
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Operating mode for level 0
The arrangement treads to eliminate many of power switches usually responsible to generate the output voltage levels in positive and negative polarities in conventional topologies. It forays the use of fewer power components in comparison to conventional topologies and requires half of the conventional carriers and two sinusoidal reference signals. It castigates the presence of redundant states and stretches it to elucidate the flexibility in the switching sequence. While a conventional nine level cascaded topology carries 16 switches and half of them traverse the current at any point in time, in the proposed structure only three switching devices portray each switching mode. Table 1 shows the PWM signals required to extract various levels of output voltage, while similar arrangements with negative reference can be used to produce PWM signals for negative cycle.
PWM signal to acquire positive cycle of output voltage
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PWM signal to acquire positive cycle of output voltage
The entries in Table 2 govern the requirement of switches, dc sources, gate drive drivers and number of switches in current conduction path to achieve different levels using this new topology for single / threephase versions. The three phase topology can be derived using three single phase proposed topology connected in star network. The values in Table 3 compare the number of power components required to produce 9 level between proposed and conventional topologies to authenticate the merits of the new structure.
Power components required for proposed topology for ((2× (k×j))+1 level
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Power components required for proposed topology for ((2× (k×j))+1 level
Power components comparison between proposed topology and conventional topologies for single phase 9 level inverter
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Power components comparison between proposed topology and conventional topologies for single phase 9 level inverter
3. Modulation Strategy
The single phase topology requires (m-1) triangular carriers of the same amplitude and frequency and disposed horizontally in phase with each other, where, ‘m’ is the number of output voltage levels. The switching signals that buffer the power devices are obtained by direct comparison between triangular carriers (V cr1 , V cr2 , V cr3 and V cr4 ) and the modulating reference sine (Msinωt) as indicated in Fig. 9 . The logical functions tailor the high frequency signals in order to appropriately turn on the switches used in the power circuit as shown in Fig. 2 . The phase voltage amplitude can be varied by controlling the amplitude of the reference sine wave.
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Pulse width modulation phase disposition technique (PD-PWM)
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Simplified Modulation scheme for single phase nine level inverter
4. Simulation Results
The simulation parameters are chosen as V 1, 1 = V 1, 2 = V 2, 1 =V 2, 2 =75V each and a switching frequency of 2 kHz. The load components are treated to be R=150Ω and L=100 mH. The Fig. 10 shows the output voltage waveforms for five, seven and nine levels and their respective harmonic spectra obtained using the same shell input voltage. The inductive load current for single phase nine level inverter displayed in Fig. 11 traces the ripple free and distortion less nature of the output current owing to the efficacy of the structure and the modulation scheme used. The bar chart in Fig. 12 relates to the reduction in the number of switches in the conduction path for varying levels of the output voltage and throws the significance of the topology to erudite a seamless operation of CMLI for (k, j)=(2, 2).
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Output voltage and Harmonic spectrum: (a) 5 level; (b) 7 level; (c) 9 level inverter
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Inductive load current for single phase 9 level inverter
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Number of switches in the conduction path for varying levels
5. Experimental Results
The prototype depicted in Fig. 13 is fabricated for the same IGBTs (BUP306D) and similar load specifications to examine its applicability and validate the simulated performance. The Multicarrier phase disposition PWM (PDPWM) pulses generated through the Xilinx system generator is pictured in Fig. 14 . The load voltage together with the harmonic spectrum and the load current waveforms for the nine level output corresponding to a modulation index of 1 and an output voltage of 220 V are shown in Figs. 15 and 16 respectively. The experimental results equivocally arbitrate the methodology, justify the simulated response and highlight the practical feasibility of the proposed MLI topology for use in the field.
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Prototype of proposed single phase nine level inverter
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Gating signals for the proposed nine level inverter
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Output voltage and Harmonic spectrum for nine level inverter
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Inductive load current waveform for nine level inverter
6. Conclusion
A new prodigy to emulate a matrix structure for a CMLI using isolated voltage sources or capacitors has been developed. The topology has been conceived using relatively smaller number of voltage sources and semiconductor devices compared to the existing MLI topologies. The proposed configuration has been dwelled to pull out and desired number of voltage levels from the same number of voltage sources and churn out a higher quality output voltage spectrum. The number of actual switches in operation during each conduction sequence has been drastically reduced to steam out the lowering of conduction losses and electromagnetic interference. The results castigate the reformation in the birth of newer structures and foresee an outburst of innovative applications for MLIs. The resurgence has been procrastinated to profess an increasing use of renewable sources and cater the needs of a green environment.
BIO
S. Thamizharasan was born in 1983 in Puducherry, India. He received his B.Tech and M.Tech degrees from Pondicherry University and currently pursuing Ph.D in Electrical Engineering at Anna University, Chennai. He is now with Department of EEE, Surya Group of Institutions, School of Engineering & Technology, Vikravandi, India. His areas of interest include Power converter design and modulation strategies.
J. Baskaran was born in 1977 in Tamilnadu, India. He received his B.E degree from Madras University, M.E degree from Annamalai University and Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Anna University. Currently, he is a professor and head of EEE department in Adhiparasakthi Engineering College, Melmaruvathur. His research interest includes power electronics and optimization control in power system.
S. Ramkumar was born in 1969 in Puducherry, India. He received the B.E Degree from Bharathiar University, M.E and Ph.D degrees in Power electronics and Electrical Engineering from Anna University, Chennai. Currently, he is a professor and head of EEE department in, RMD Engineering College, Chennai, India. His areas of interest include Power converters and intelligent control of power converters.
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