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Multilevel inverters are an attractive solution in the medium-voltage and high-power applications. However in the low-power range also it can be a better solution compared to two-level inverters, if MOSFETs are used as devices switching in the order of 100 kHz. The effect of clamping diodes in the diode-clamped multilevel inverters play an important role in determining its efficiency. Power loss introduced by the reverse recovery of MOSFET body diode prohibits the use of MOSFET in hard-switched inverter legs. A technique of avoiding reverse recovery loss of MOSFET body diode in a three-level neutral point clamped inverter is suggested. The use of multilevel inverters topology enables operation at high switching frequency without sacrificing efficiency. High switching frequency of operation reduces the output filter requirement, which in turn helps in reducing the size of the inverter. This study elaborates the trade-off analysis to quantify the suitability of multilevel inverters in the low-power applications. Advantages of using a MOSFET-based three-level diode-clamped inverter for a PM motor drive and UPS systems are discussed.
Date of Publication: April 2011