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Title: DC/DC converters for high voltage direct current transmission
Author: Luth, Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 4489
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission has to date mostly been used for point-to-point projects, with only a few select projects being designed from the outset to incorporate multiple terminals. Any future HVDC network is therefore likely to evolve out of this pool of HVDC connections. As technology improves, the voltage rating, at the point of commission, of the these connections increases. Interconnection therefore requires the DC equivalent of the transformer, to bridge the voltage levels and create a multi-terminal network. This thesis investigates new potential DC/DC converter topologies, which may be used for a range of HVDC applications. Simple interconnections of new and legacy HVDC links is unlikely to require a large voltage-step, but will be required to transfer a large amount of power. As the HVDC network develops it may become feasible for wind-farms and load-centres to directly connect to the DC network, rather than requiring new and dedicated links. Such a connection is called an HVDC tap and is typically rated at only a small fraction of the link's peak capacity (around 10\%). Such taps would connect a distribution voltage level to the HVDC network. DC/DC converters suitable for large-step ratios (>5:1) may find their application here. In this work DC/DC converters for both small and large step-ratios are investigated. Two approaches are taken to design such converters: first, an approach utilising existing converter topologies is investigated. As each project comes with a huge price-tag, their reliability is paramount. Naturally, technology that has already proven itself in the field can be modified more readily and quickly for deployment. Using two modular multilevel converters in a front-to-front arrangement has been found to work efficiently for large power transfers and low step-ratios. Such a system can be operated at higher than 50 Hz frequencies to reduce the volume of a number of passive components, making the set-up suitable for compact off-shore applications. This does however incur a significant penalty in losses reducing the overall converter efficiency. In the second approach DC/DC converter designs are presented, that are more experimental and would require significantly more development work before deployment. Such designs do not look to adapt existing converter topologies but rather are designed from scratch, purely for DC/DC applications. An evolution of the front-to-front arrangement is investigated in further detail. This circuit utilises medium frequency (>50 Hz) square current and voltage waveforms. The DC/DC step-ratio is achieved through a combination of the stacks of cells and a transformer. This split approach allows for high-step ratios to be achieved at similar system efficiencies as for the front-to-front arrangement. The topology has been found to be much more suitable for higher than 50 Hz operation from a losses perspective, allowing for a compact and efficient design.
Supervisor: Green, Tim C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available