Multiple-Input Isolated Push-Pull Connected Power Converters

Computing & Wireless : Hardware

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Alexis Kwasinski, Ph.D. , Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Sheng-Yang Yu , Electrical and Computer Engineering

Background/unmet need

In a renewable power generation and distribution system, DC/DC power conversion is typically necessary to boost the DC output from individual power sources, such as a solar photovoltaic (PV) module or a wind turbine, before it is inverted to AC and distributed to the electric grid. A DC/DC converter can also provides maximum power point tracking function that can increase the energy yield of a power generation unit.

Compared to a single-input converter (SIC), a multiple-input converter(MIC) offers lower cost, unified control, and compact packing. Thus, it is being widely adopted as a solution to a multiple-source system. But current MIC topologies still need improvement in wider DC/DC voltage transfer ratio, lower cost, and more robustness in various applications.

Invention Description

A research group in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin has proposed an innovative MIC family with both isolation and push-pull connection. Isolation incorporated with common push-pull approach makes the new MIC family more desirable than previously presented MICs, in terms of reduced component numbers, and smaller switches voltage stress. In addition, the utilization of forward conducting and bi-directional blocking (FCBB) switches makes new MIC family more flexible.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Lower cost, unified control and compact packing when compared to multiple source system with single-input power converters
  • Wide range of sources-to-load voltage transfer ratio when compared to non-isolated multiple-input power converters
  • Lower input switch voltage stress when compared to multiple-input hard-switching power converters
  • Lower component numbers than previously presented multiple-input soft-switching power converters

Features

  • Isolation of loads from sources by a transformer at the output rectifier stage
  • Component numbers of proposed MIC topologies are close to half of previously presented soft-switching MICs.
  • The proposed topologies can be operated with opposite energy flow directions. In other words, they might have not only an energy flow from multiple sources to a load, but also from a source to multiple loads.

Market potential/applications

Residential and commercial PV energy harvest, with two possible configurations:
(1) Within a PV module, groups of PV cells can be controlled and tracked as inputs to an on-board MIC; suitable for residential and small commercial scale applications
(2) As inputs to a MIC, groups of PV modules can be controlled and tracked individually; suitable for small to medium commercial scale applications

Utility energy harvest from various energy sources: solar, wind, thermoelectric

Interface between power sources and appliances, or energy storage devices

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status