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Wireless Control of Modular Multilevel Converter Submodules

Time: Fri 2022-02-18 10.00

Location: H1, Teknikringen 33, Stockholm

Video link: online defense

Language: English

Subject area: Electrical Engineering

Doctoral student: Baris Ciftci , Elkraftteknik

Opponent: Professor Remus Teodorescu,

Supervisor: Professor Hans-Peter Nee, Elkraftteknik; Professor Lennart Harnefors, Elkraftteknik; Staffan Norrga, Elkraftteknik; Professor James Gross, Teknisk informationsvetenskap; Professor Lars Kildehöj Rasmussen, Teknisk informationsvetenskap

QC 20220127


The modular multilevel converter (MMC) has extensively been used in high-voltage, high-power applications such as high-voltage dc transmission systems and flexible alternating current transmission systems. The control of MMC submodules is conventionally realized using wired communication systems. However, MMCs in high-power applications consist of up to thousands of submodules. Significant issues arise with the wired communication systems in the MMC valve halls of these applications, including considerable workforce and time requirements for the cable deployment.

The main objective of this thesis is to propose a wireless control method for MMC submodules. Wireless communication has fundamental differences from wired communication regarding latency and reliability. Since the control of submodules is a time-critical process, the MMC internal control and modulation methods used with wired communication systems are not directly applicable to wireless communication systems.

A wireless control method is proposed for the MMC submodules. The proposal is based on the distributed control of MMCs, where the control and modulation tasks are shared between a central controller and the submodule controllers. The fundamental data to transmit wirelessly is the insertion indices for each of the MMC arms and the synchronization signal for the modulation carriers generated in the submodules. The amount and the cycle time of the time-critical wireless data are in the range of tens of bytes and hundreds of microseconds and are independent of the total number of submodules. The proposal is experimentally verified on a laboratory-scale MMC.

The original proposal is enhanced against the communication errors such that the submodules suffering from the errors can continue their modulation smoothly and uninterruptedly. If continuing the modulation is not feasible in case of very long-lasting communication errors, the submodules switch to a safe operation mode to avoid faults in the MMC. Moreover, wireless control of submodules with ac-side faults is analyzed. The MMC rides through the ac-side faults even with a complete loss of communication before or after the fault instant.

A wireless communication network based on 5G New Radio is designed theoretically for an example full-scale MMC valve hall according to the proposed wireless control method. It is evaluated that the latency and reliability of the proposed communication solution can correspond to the proposed wireless control method requirements. Finally, the electromagnetic interference from the MMC submodules is measured as below 500 MHz, which does not affect a wireless communication held in the multi-GHz range.