This paper presents a practical strategy for utilizing the submodule (SM) redundancy of a modular multilevel converter (MMC) for its fault tolerance. This strategy provides a systematic framework for balancing the tradeoff between two conventional methods for using the active redundancy and, thus, achieves operational flexibility. One of the existing methods improves SM reliability owing to less voltage stress on the SM components by employing all of the SMs to form the ac or dc voltages (voltage-sharing mode). The other avoids transients by keeping the average SM voltage constant at the cost of slightly increased stress on the SM components (fixed-level mode), which, however, can be controlled to provide the grid-adaptive operation by reserving the energy of the SMs not in service. We, thus, develop a new redundancy management scheme by integrating these two methods and exploiting their technical benefits to meet the PQ requirements and MMC control performance. This research provides a theoretical basis and a technical guide to determining the number of SMs, which can further increase the voltage steps as per the MMC and grid conditions. This paper also connects the remaining PQ capability of the MMC at a particular operating point with the SM redundancy concept by defining a potential redundancy, especially useful when the physical redundancy is exhausted. The theoretical findings and efficacy of the proposed strategy are validated through PSCAD/EMTDC time-domain simulations followed by experiments using a nine-level single-phase MMC system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering