skip to main content


Title: Generalized Architecture of a GaN-Based Modular Multiport Multilevel Flying Capacitor Converter
This paper proposes a generalized Gallium Nitride (GaN) based modular multiport multilevel flying capacitor architecture. In other words, the attractive flying capacitor multilevel (FCML) design and the full-bridge unfolding circuit are employed to develop a multiport multilevel converter architecture that fits various applications. Each module can be designed to contain any combination of AC and DC ports connected through DC-to-DC and DC-to-AC power conversion paths. These conversion paths are FCML topologies that can be designed with any number of levels; the DC-to-AC paths incorporate the full-bridge unfolding circuit. Two example prototypes with open-loop control, three-port and four-port, have verified this generalized architecture. A single module 3 kW three-port four-level prototype with two DC ports and an AC port has achieved a compact size of 11.6 in 3 (4.8 in ×4.3 in × 0.56 in) and a high power density of 258.6 W/in 3 . The three ports are connected through DC-to-AC and DC-to-DC paths that have achieved peak efficiencies of 98.2% and 99.43%, respectively. The total harmonic distortion (THD) of the AC port's voltage and current are 1.26% and 1.23%, respectively. It operates at a high switching frequency of 120 kHz because of the GaN switches and has an actual frequency (inductor's ripple frequency) of 360 kHz thanks to the frequency multiplication effect of the FCML. The four-port prototype contains three DC ports and an AC port and achieved similar high figures of merit. These experimental results of the two prototypes of high efficiency, power density, and compact size are presented in this article and highlight this architecture's promising potential. The choice of the number of modules, ports, and levels depends on the application and its specification; therefore, this proposed generalized structure may serve as a reference design approach for various applications of interest.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2103442
NSF-PAR ID:
10412579
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
ISSN:
0885-8993
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 21
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Electric Vehicles (EV s) that are wholly charged from renewable energy resources to avoid indirect emissions are the most effective solution for climate change and energy insecurity. This paper proposes a four-port isolated PV -based EV charging architecture that contains an LLC input stage to harvest solar energy with high efficiency because of its dual PV input ports with independent MPPT capabilities that share a common resonant tank. This architecture also includes a GaN -based flying capacitor multilevel (FCML) output stage with two GaN-based FCML converter paths, DC and AC paths. These two paths transfer power with high efficiency to two output ports, a DC port for direct DC charging and an AC port for level-2 AC charging. The system has been verified by building a 2 kW prototype module, and experimental results are presented. 
    more » « less
  2. A three-port multilevel inverter with two DC ports and an AC port using Flying Capacitor Multilevel (FCML) design based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) switches is proposed in this paper. Recently, FCML inverter has shown a superior ability for power conversion with high power density, improved Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), and efficiency. The presented three-port multilevel inverter fits various applications such as battery and photovoltaic (PV) grid integration and standalone AC load. The proposed inverter is experimentally verified by building a 3-kW prototype using GaN switches which include two 4-level FCML converter paths, each share the same bus capacitor (C bus ), which links them together. One FCML path is 1 kW that incorporates an unfolder for the DC-to-AC conversion and has achieved a peak efficiency of 98.2% with AC voltage and current THDs of 1.26% and 1.23%, respectively. While the second FCML converter path is 2 kW used for the DC-to-DC conversion and has achieved a 99.43% peak efficiency. 
    more » « less
  3. The size, weight, power density, cost, and efficiency are crucial factors that should be considered when designing or employing power electronics converters for a specific application. Therefore, comparing different converters to investigate which converter provides better figures of merit at the same application and operating condition is essential. This paper uses theoretical, simulation and experimental comparisons between the two-level and multilevel converters. The DC-DC two-level buck and the flying capacitor multilevel (FCML) buck converters are chosen to carry out the theoretical, simulation and experimental prototypes when both employ Gallium Nitride (GaN) power semiconductor switches. It was found that the FCML converter inherently provides superior performance and figures of merit over both the two-level and multilevel converters. Simulation and experimental results that validate each other are provided in this paper. 
    more » « less
  4. This work explores the mechanisms and limitations of natural voltage balancing in flying capacitor multilevel (FCML) DC-DC converters. A simple discrete-time state space model is used to explore the fundamental conditions that will lead to (or prevent) natural balance of flying capacitor voltages, along with the balancing dynamics. The treatment is used to highlight straightforward ways to alleviate problems with natural imbalance by adjusting the switching scheme. The model is compared against circuit simulations and the proposed switching scheme is verified in a hardware prototype. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    In this paper, design of a compact high frequency four-port transformer for a Solid-State Transformer (SST) arrangement is presented. Unlike other SSTs, the four-port system integrates three active sources and a load port with galvanic isolation via a single transformer core. In addition to this feature, one of the three source ports is designed to operate at Medium Voltage (MV) 7.2kV for direct connection to 4.16kV AC grid, while other ports nominal voltages are rated at 400V. The transformer is designed to operate at 50kHz and to supply 25kW/port. Thus, the proposed system connects the MV grid, Energy Storage System (ESS), PV, and DC load to each other on a single common transformer core. Based on the system power demand and availability of renewable energy resources, utility and energy storage ports can either supply or draw power, while PV port can only supply power, maintaining the required demand for the load. This work focuses mainly on the High Frequency Transformer (HFT) design. An extensive study is carried out to obtain the optimal, compact, cost effective, and high efficiency model. Modeling, mathematical, and simulation results are derived and presented to demonstrate the viability of this design. 
    more » « less