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Hybrid Converters for HVDC Transmission

Time: Wed 2019-11-20 10.00

Location: Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Electrical Engineering

Doctoral student: Panagiotis Bakas , Elkraftteknik, Power Electronics

Opponent: Professor Stephen Finney, University of Edinburgh

Supervisor: Professor Lennart Harnefors, Elkraftteknik, ABB Corporate Research; Associate Professor Staffan Norrga, Elkraftteknik; Professor Hans-Peter Nee, Elkraftteknik

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The line-commutated converter (LCC) and the voltage-source converter (VSC) are the two main converter technologies utilized in high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission applications. Depending on the application requirements, one technology might be more advantageous than the other. On the one hand, the LCC features technological maturity, high efficiency, and high power-transfer capability, but it lacks the ability to independently control active and reactive power and to ride through ac faults. On the other hand, the VSC overcomes the shortcomings of the LCC and offers more functionality, as it features the ability to independently control active and reactive power, ac-fault ride through capability, black-start capability, and superior harmonic performance. Yet, it is less mature, less efficient, and has lower power-transfer capability than the LCC. Thus, the combination of the LCC and the VSC topologies could yield hybrid converters that leverage the complementary characteristics of both technologies and thus are optimized for HVDC applications. Therefore, the main objective of this thesis is to investigate existing and derive new hybrid converters that combine the complementary characteristics of the LCC and VSC technologies.

The hybrid converters investigated in this thesis are divided in two main categories, namely: (a) current-source; and (b) voltage-source hybrid converters. The former category includes hybrid converters that are based on the LCC structure and utilize a VSC part either for compensating the reactive power consumed by the LCC, or for active filtering of the LCC current harmonics, or for independently controlling active and reactive power, or for achieving a combination of these functionalities. Four different current-source hybrid converters have been investigated and compared in terms of functionality, conduction losses, and semiconductor requirements.

The second category includes more complex circuits that combine thyristors and modular VSC elements in ways that enable these hybrid converters to operate as VSCs and to achieve high active-power capability. Two new voltage-source hybrid converters are analyzed and compared in terms of active-power capability, semiconductor requirements, and controllability. This study reveals that the hybrid alternate-common-arm converter (HACC) is the most interesting circuit; thus, an in-depth analysis is performed for this converter. The theoretical analysis shows that, under certain operating conditions, the HACC can transfer twice the active power of the full-bridge modular multilevel converter (FB-MMC) with lower semiconductor rating per unit of active power. Yet, if the total commutation time of the thyristors and/or the power angle are increased beyond certain values, the active-power capability of the HACC is reduced. Finally, simulation and experimental results are provided in order to verify the theoretical analysis and prove the feasibility of the HACC.