Multiple-Input Soft-Switching Power Converters

Computing & Wireless : Hardware

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Alexis Kwasinski, Ph.D. , Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Sheng-Yang Yu , Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Ruichen Zhao , 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 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 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 ratios, 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 new multiple-input soft-switching converter topologies based on phase-shift full-bridge converter (PSFB), parallel resonant converter (PRC), and series resonant converter (SRC). An additional multiple-winding magnetic coupled multiple-input phase-shift full-bridge power converter (MW-MIPSFB) with fewer components than original MW-MIPSFB is also proposed. The soft-switching characteristics of a PSFB converter are preserved in the multiple-input version.

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 switching losses 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 two-thirds 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