Principal Investigator: Dr. Adel Nasiri
Electrical power converters are the building blocks of efficient multi-source and multi-load AC and DC energy systems. As such there is a large interest to increase their efficiency, reliability, and flexibility and reduce their cost and size. State-of-the-art power converters with multi kilowatt and direct 480VAC ratings are typically Si and SiC-based. GaN-based devices are the next generation of wide band gap devices that promise lower conduction and switching loss, higher operating temperature, and higher reliability. Enabled higher operating frequency can significantly reduce converter size and consequently reduce cost of the converter and balance of the system. This improvement can impact various primary industries such as grid-connected systems, automotive, electric drives, and distributed generations. In this project, we propose to develop a three-level neutral point clamp grid connected inverter using GaN MOSFETs. We intend to push the limits on switching frequency and size reduction. Developing high frequency converters needs special attention to parasitic elements and high frequency noises. As such, we plan to develop PCB-based busbar as well as inductors to reduce stray elements and contain the noise. The specific device will be compatible for PCB-based converter with very small footprint. We will use advanced techniques for co-simulation and thermal management to achieve high frequency operation and significantly compact size. The converter will be developed at 25kW, 950VDC/480VAC in the first year. After developing the design process and performing tests on the converter, the power target will be increased to 100kW for the second year. This project will create knowledge for GRAPES IAB and universities on high frequency GaN-based converters. It will establish a generalized process to design and develop the converter including controls, power stage, gate drives, EMI noise reduction during design, and EMI filter design.