Inverter Design for SiC-based Electric Drive Systems with Optimal Redundant States Control of Space Vector Modulation
Doktorsavhandling, 2021

The need for inverters with ever increasing power density and efficiency has recently become the driving factor for research in various fields. Increasing the operating voltage of the whole drive system and utilizing newly developed SiC power switches can contribute towards this goal. Higher operating voltage allows the design of drives with lower current, which leads to lower copper losses in cables and machine, while SiC switches can drastically increase the inverter efficiency. Offshore renewable power generation, such as tidal power, is a typical application where the increase of operating voltage can be highly beneficial. The ongoing electrification of transportation calls also for high power electric powertrains with high power density,
where SiC technology has key advantages.

In the first part of the thesis, suitable control schemes for inverters in synchronous machine drive systems are derived. A properly designed Maximum Power Point Tracking algorithm for kite-based tidal power systems is presented. The speed and torque of this new tidal power generation system varies periodically and the inverter control needs to be able to handle this variable power profile. Experimental verification of the developed control is conducted on a 35 kVA laboratory emulator of the tidal power generation unit.

Electric drives using multilevel inverters are studied afterwards. Multilevel inverters use multiple low-voltage-rated switches and can operate at higher voltage than standard two-level inverters. The Neutral Point Clamped (NPC) converter is a commonly used multilevel inverter topology for medium voltage machine drives. However, the voltage balancing of its dc-side capacitors and the complexity of its control are still issues that have not been effectively solved. A new method for the optimal utilization of the redundant states in Space Vector pulse-width-Modulation (SVM) is proposed in this thesis in order to control its dc-link voltages. Experimental verification on a 4-kV-rated prototype medium-voltage PMSM drive with 5-level NPC converters is conducted in order to validate the effectiveness of the proposed control technique.

Low switching and conduction losses are typical characteristics of SiC switches that can be utilized to build inverters with high power density, due to the increased efficiency and smaller form-factor. Due to the above, SiC power modules have been particularly attractive for the automotive industry. The design approach of 2-level automotive inverters has been studied in this project. Moreover, a new design approach for the cooling system of automotive inverters has been developed in this thesis, which fine-tunes the inverter heatsink utilizing standard legislated test routines for electric vehicles. Multiple conjugate-heat-transfer (CHT) computation results showcase the iterative optimization procedure on a test-case 250 kW (450 A) automotive SiC inverter.

Finally, the experimental testing of high power machine drives in order to verify the control and the hardware design is an important step of the development process. Thus, the performance of the prototype 450 A SiC 2-level inverter has been been experimentally validated in a power hardware-in-the-loop (P-HIL) set-up that emulates an automotive drive system. Several challenges have been addressed with respect to the accurate modelling of the motor and the control of the circulating power in the system. A new control technique utilizing the redundant states of the SVM has been developed for this set-up to effectively suppress the zero-sequence current to 3.3 % of the line current at rated power.

Silicon Carbide (SiC)

Space Vector Modulation

Voltage balancing

Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

Power Hardware-in-the-Loop


Tidal power

Common Mode Voltage

Neutral Point Clamped (NPC)

Electric Vehicle

Medium Voltage Converters

Opponent: Prof. Josep Pou, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore


Georgios Mademlis

Chalmers, Elektroteknik, Elkraftteknik, Elmaskiner och kraftelektronik

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Hållbar utveckling






Annan elektroteknik och elektronik



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4910


Chalmers tekniska högskola



Opponent: Prof. Josep Pou, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

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