In ac grid connected motor drives, a rectifier, usually a common diode bridge providing a pulsed dc voltage from the mains, is required. Alternatively, a secondac-to-dc converter, acting as a rectifier during the motoring mode and an inverter during the breaking mode, is used between drive and utility grid. An additional benefit of the active front end is enabling unity power factor, (sinusoidal) currentflows to or from the grid.Although the basic circuit for an inverter may seem simple, accurately switchingthese devices provides a number of challenges for the power electronic engineer.The most common switching technique is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).PWM is a powerful technique for controlling analog circuits with a processor’sdigital outputs. PWM is employed in a wide variety of applications, ranging frommeasurement and communications to power control and conversion. In ac motor drives, PWM inverters make it possible to control both frequency and magnitude of the voltage and current applied to a motor. As a result, PWM inverter-poweredmotor drives are more variable and offer in a wide range better efficiency and higher performance when compared to fixed frequency motor drives. The energy, which isdelivered by the PWM inverter to the ac motor, is controlled by PWM signalsapplied to the gates of the power switches at different times for varying durations to produce the desired output waveform.There are several PWM modulation techniques. It is beyond the scope of this book to describe them all in detail. The following illustration describes the basic three- phase inverter topology and typical pulse width modulation methods. Furthermore,issues of phase voltage distortion/identification due to the inverter non-linearity arediscussed in detail.
1.2 Voltage-Source PWM Inverter
A typical voltage-source PWM converter performs the ac to ac conversion in twostages: ac to dc and dc to variable frequency ac. The basic converter design is shownin figure 1.1. The grid voltage is rectified by the line rectifier usually consisting of adiode bridge. Presently, attention paid to power quality and improved power factor has shifted the interest to more supply friendly ac-to-dc converters, e.g. PWMrectifier. This allows simultaneously active filtering of the line current as well asregenerative motor braking schemes transferring power back to the mains.The dc voltage is filtered and smoothed by the capacitor
in the dc bus (figure 1.1).The capacitor is of appreciable size (2-20 mF) and therefore a major cost item[Bose 97]. Alternatively, the inverter can be supplied from a fixed dc voltage. Thefiltered dc voltage is usually measured for control purpose. Because of the nearlyconstant dc bus voltage, a number of PWM inverters with their associated motor drives can be supplied from one common diode bridge. The inductive reactance
between rectifier and ac supply is used to reduce commutation dips produced by therectifier, to limit fault current and to soften voltages spikes of the mains.