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This paper presents a new three-level topology based on the neutral-point (NP)-clamped converter. An additional leg is added to the basic topology. The main purpose of this leg is to provide the converter with fault-tolerant capabilities. In addition, during normal operation mode, the fourth leg can be used to balance the NP voltage. In this way, the low-frequency voltage oscillations that appear in the NP under some operating conditions are cancelled out effectively. As a result, the modulation strategy of the three main legs of the converter does not have to take care of the voltage balance and can focus on other aspects such as, for instance, minimizing the switching losses of the converter. However, the inclusion of the fourth leg produces some additional losses. A resonant topology is proposed to minimize the switching losses of this leg. Three different fault-tolerant solutions based on the fourth-leg topology are presented. A comparison of these topologies showing their respective advantages and drawbacks is made. Experimental results are presented to show the viability of this approach.
Date of Publication: June 2011