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Wind turbine converters demand high power density due to nacelle space limitation and high reliability due to high maintenance cost. Depending on the converter structure, the converter thermal performance determines the converter power density and reliability. To estimate the converter thermal performance, the converter structure-based power loss and thermal models are developed in this study for the medium-voltage (MV) three-level active neutral-point-clamped voltage source converter (3L-ANPC-VSC) utilizing 4500 V-1800 A press-pack insulated-gate bipolar transistor-diode pairs and interfacing a 6 MW wind turbine to a MV grid. The switching power loss models are built using the experimental switching power loss data acquired via the double-pulse tests conducted on a full-scale 3L-ANPC-VSC prototype. The converter static thermal model is developed based on the double-sided water-cooled press-pack switches. Via a single-phase test setup with two full-scale 3L-ANPC-VSC legs, the developed power loss and thermal models are validated experimentally. Employing the validated models, the 3L-ANPC-VSC's thermal performance is demonstrated on simulation for a 6 MW wind turbine grid interface. Hence, these converter structure-based models developed and validated in this study are proven to be suitable for the converter power density and reliability studies based on converter thermal performance.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2011