Principal Investigators: Dr. Juan Balda and Dr. Simon Ang
Several renewable energy sources (e.g., wind turbines) and non-renewable energy sources (e.g., microturbines using natural gas as fuel), broadly classified as “distributed generation” (DG), produce sinusoidal voltages at frequencies which are different from the grid frequency, or produce dc voltages which are not compatible with the grid voltages. Examples of the former would be wind turbines using PMSG, or microturbines in (mini) CHP applications. Examples of the later are utility-scale converters for solar farms. Most existing topologies use electrolytic capacitors which are well known to represent the weakest link in power converters . Thus, there is a need for power electronic interfaces for connecting distributed generation which have high power density and are reliable. The indirect matrix converters (IMC) have volume advantages with little efficiency penalties over standard back-to-back power converters , . Thus, the main objective of this project is to develop indirect matrix converters which are reliable and have high power density to interconnect DG which require ac/ac conversion, or dc/ac conversion with a high-frequency stage. Wideband gap semiconductor devices, like silicon carbide (SiC) JFET, increase system efficiency and reduce further system volume. The absence of electrolytic capacitors is an advantage but is also a disadvantage since there is no energy storage element to provide ride-through capabilities. Hence, the viability of using boosting operation of the IMC will be investigated after developing the SiC-based IMC prototype.