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Efficiency Impact of Silicon Carbide Power Electronics for Modern Wind Turbine Full Scale Frequency Converter

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2 Author(s)
Hui Zhang ; Department of Electrical Engineering, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee , AL, USA ; Leon M. Tolbert

Power electronics is an enabling technology found in most renewable energy generation systems. Because of its superior voltage blocking capabilities and fast switching speeds, silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics are considered for use in power conversion units in wind generation systems in this paper. The potential efficiency gains from the use of SiC devices in a wind generation system are explored by simulations, with the system modeling explained in detail. The performance of the SiC converter is analyzed and compared to its silicon counterpart at different wind speeds, temperatures, and switching frequencies. The quantitative results are based on SiC metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) prototypes from Cree and modern Si insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) products. A conclusion is drawn that the SiC converters can improve the wind system power conversion efficiency and can reduce the system's size and cost due to the low-loss, high-frequency, and high-temperature properties of SiC devices, even for one-for-one replacement for Si devices.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics  (Volume:58 ,  Issue: 1 )