Principal Investigator: Dr. Enrico Santi
The goal of this project is to study the reliability of grid-connected power electronic systems. In recent times there has a been a convergence of power systems and power electronics, with switching converters of ever increasing power levels connected to the grid to perform various tasks such as power conversion (e.g., alternative energy interface to the grid), power quality improvement (e.g., STATCOMs and static VAR compensators), power flow control (e.g., thyristor-controlled series compensators and gate controlled series capacitors), and so on. Reliability is a significant concern for grid-connected power electronics, because traditional grid elements such as transmission lines and power transformers tend to be extremely rugged and have a very long lifetime, so there is a concern that the introduction of power electronics may negatively affect overall grid reliability.
A power electronic system is a complex electro-thermo-mechanical system and therefore many failure mechanisms are possible. The goal of this preliminary investigation is to perform a case study on a commercial product to evaluate power electronics reliability. The case study examines a specific product but the ultimate goal is to generalize the results and develop general guidelines and methodologies to study reliability of grid-connected power electronics systems.