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Sciutto*** *Dipartimento di Sistemi Elettrici ed Automazione v. Diotisalvi n.2  56100 PISA (Italy) **European Patent Office P.B.5818. Patentlaan n.2  2280HV RIJSWIJK (Netherlands) ***Dipartimentodi Ingegneria Elettrica v. Opera Pia n.lla  16145 GENOVA (Italy)
ABSTRACT This paper deals with a generalization of the PWM "subharmonic" method to control singlephase or threephase multilevel Voltage Source Inverters. We derive an analytical expression of the spectral components of the output waveforms covering all the operating conditions. The analysis is based on an extension of the Bennet's method. The improvements in harmonic spectrum are pointed out, and several examples are presented, which prove the validity of the multilevel modulation.
levels which the output waveforms can assume. Referring to Fig.1 (a), we define output phase voltage of the singlephase inverter the voltage between the output terminals A and B. SINGLE PHASE
INTRODUCTION One of the most important problems in controlling a VSI with variable amplitude and frequency of the output voltage is to obtain an output waveform as much as possible of sinusoidal shape employing simple control techniques. Indeed, current harmonics caused by non sinusoidal voltage feeding imply power losses, Electro Magnetic Interferences (EMI) and pulsating torques in AC motor drives. Harmonic reduction can then be strictly related to the performance of an inverter with any switching strategy. Under the aspect of harmonic content reduction, multilevel inverters are of highest importance [l].They are particularly suitable in high power applications, when the semiconductor devices are not able to operate at high switching frequencies. It is also worth noting that, when adopting traditional bipolar inverter topologies, very high powers cannot be obtained, unless using problematic series/parallel combinations of the solidstate switches, which further lower the highest possible switching frequencies. The multilevel structures allow to raise the power handled in the conversion processes, in a very natural and powerful way [2]. To introduce the multilevel concept, we refer to the number of voltage
Fig.1. Singlephase (a) and threephase (b) DC/AC conversion system. Obviously, for singlephase inverters phase voltage and voltage across the load are the same. An halfbridge bipolar inverter allows only two levels for the output voltages. A fullbridge bipolar structure allows three levels. From our point of view these are respectively two and three level structures. In the case of a threephase halfbridge inverter we define output phase voltages those between the output terminals a, b, c and the central point 0 of the DC input source (see Fig1 (b)). We also define load lase voltages those across each phase nf the
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CH28738/90/00000363 $1.00
'1990 IEEE
threephase load. A bipolar threephase halfbridge VSI is clearly a two level structure because the voltages vaoIbo, vco can assume only the E or E values. As far as a fullbridge bipolar inverter is concerned, it behaves substantially like three singlephase fullbridge structures [31 having the same DC input source, but it is not commonly employed. For a long time, bipolar inverters were the most commonly employed structures. Only in this last decade other structures were applied in practice, like the NPC inverter [4] which is a threelevel inverter, or the multilevel structure presented in [51, which is made u p of series connected fullbridge bipolar inverters. A very simple threephase halfbridge multilevel inverter has been presented in [6]. In this paper we are not interested in the actual structure of the inverter, but only in the number N of the output phase voltage levels. Thus we say that a VSI allows multilevel operation if N23. Because the level 0 is obviously of the most importance we will discuss only the case with N odd. MULTILEVEL PWM TECHNIQUE Having more than two voltage levels to build a sinusoidal shape it is intuitive that we can have reduction of the current harmonics in the load. Nevertheless, the actual improvement of the current spectrum depends on the control technique employed. The most popular control technique for traditional inverters is the sinusoidal o r "subharmonic" natural Pulse Width Modulation method. Its popularity is due to its simplicity and to the good results it guarantees in all the operating conditions, included the "overmodulation" which allows first harmonic amplitude up to 4 7 p.u. A /c complete analysis of both bipolar (for two level inverters) and unipolar (for three level inverters) methods has been widely developed in literature U71, 181, [91, [I011 We now develope a theoretical analysis of the PWM method for multilevel inverters. We refer to the system outlined in Fig.2, where N' = (N1)/2
(1)
For the proposed multilevel generalization of the PWM method, we take as a starting point the unipolar technique [71, [lo]. The idea we follow is to use several triangular carrier signals keeping only one modulating sinusoidal signal. If a N level inverter is employed, N1 carriers will be needed. The carriers have the same frequency oc and the same peaktopeak amplitude &, and are disposed so that the bands they occupy are contiguous (see Fig.3).
Fig. 3. Carrier disposition The zero reference is placed in the middle of the carrier set. The modulating signal is a sinusoid of frequency w m and amplitude Am. At every instant each carrier is compared with the modulating signal. Each comparison gives 1 (1) if the modulating sinusoid is greater than (lower than) the triangular carrier in the first (second) half of the fundamental period, 0 otherwise. The results are added to give the voltage level which is required at the output terminal of the inverter. Obviously, the actual driving signals for the power devices depend on the particular structure chosen to realize the inverter and thus can be derived from the results of the modulatingcarriers comparison by means of a simple logic circuit. In the case of threephase inverters we can choose between two different ways in which the switching waveforms of the three legs are produced. To comply with the requirements for a threephase system, we need always three 120' phaseshifted modulating sinusoids. The two possibilities are distinguished by the use of the carrier signals. First, a single carrier set may be used to be compared with the t h r e e m o d u l a t i n g sinusoids (singlephase modulation). Second, three different carrier sets with 120" phase displacement among themselves may be used, each to be compared with the corrisponding sinusoid (threephase modulation). An analysis of the two possibilities for a bipolar modulation is given in [ll]. The results apply directly to the multilevel
is the number of strictly positive levels of the inverter (remember N is odd), and the load is supposed linear.
Fig. 2. Multilevel DC/AC conversion system
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modulation, showing the superiority of the singlephase modulation. This is because in this case the harmonics at multiples of wc, which are always of high amplitude, are cophasal and so are not present in the spectra of the load phase voltages and of the load phase currents. Thus, in the following we will consider only singlephase modulation. The parameters of the modulation process are: also called modulation index 1 The angle 0 of displacement existing between the sinusoidal reference and the first positive triangular carrier signal. We have also other degrees of freedom. In fact the phase displacement between two contiguous triangular carriers is free. We consider only three very simple dispositions which seem the most interesting: All the carriers are alternatively in opposition (APO disposition, see Fig.4 (a)) All the carriers above the zero value reference are in phase among them, but in opposition with those below (PO disposition, see Fig.4 (b)) All the carriers are in phase (PH disposition, see Fig.4 (c)) ANALYSIS OF THE MODULATION PROCESS To find the analytical expression of the output voltage of the singlephase inverter, or of the output phase voltage of a threephase inverter leg, we extend the method originally developed by Bennett [12], [13]. By means of this method it is possible to calculate the spectral components of the output voltage in any operating condition, even in overmodulation, i.e. M>1. Moreover, being the result a double Fourier series expression it fits both to synchronous and asynchronous modulation processes. Referring to a bipolar modulation, in which only one carrier signal is involved, to build the mathematical model of the modulation process we can exploit the fact that the carrier is made of straight segments (it's a triangular wave). Thus it is possible, according to a linear relation, to derive from its instantaneous value a temporal information, apart from an integer number of periods. To eliminate this indetermination we "stretch" the carrier turning it over at each corner, as is shown in Fig.5, obtaining a ramp. The modulating signal is turned over together with the carrier. Supposing to have signals which extend from  to +m, we obtain finally a picture on the plane composed by an infinite number of sinusoids alternatively in phase opposition. The sinusoids subdivide the plane in a number of portions called zones. It is simple to understand that if we regard the
) The ratio P=w,/w, .) The ratio M=A,/(N'Ac)
straight line obtained as a time axis, the intersections between the line and the set of sinusoids identify the time instants at which we have a switch in the PWM signal. To know the value assumed by the PWM signal we have to assign a value at each zone. Thus, introducing a reference frame Axyz we must define a two variable function z=F(x,y). In the case of a bipolar modulation the surface defined by F is composed of an infinite number of parallel walls having height alternatively +E and E (see Fig.6) The function F is periodic in both x and y and thus it's possible to expand it in a double Fourier series. To have directly the PWM signal we must intersect the surface with the plane (dashed in Fig.6) perpendicular to the xAy plane and having as the trace on it the straight line produced as described above. The intersection is mathematically obtained introducing the relation y=Px To find the time expression of the PWM signal we must introduce the following relations: x=wmt y=wct
(3)
In the case of overmodulation (M>l) the sinusoids generated by the process described above overlap partially, delimiting new zones which must not be taken into account, being the value of F inside these zones the same as outside. In the multilevel case, having a set of N1 carriers, we must apply the method outlined above to each carrier signal, thus subdividing the multilevel process in N1 bipolar processes. Each bipolar process gives a function Fi(x,y), which can assume only two values. These values are 0 and E for the carriers above the zero reference, 0 and E for the carriers below. To obtain the final result we have to add the functions Fi, building a discontinuous surface composed of many superimposed walls. As an example, see Fig.7 which outlines the process for N=5, P=8, 0=0,M=0.75 and a PH disposition. In (a), (b), (c) the construction of the F generated by the stretching of the first carrier above the zero reference is shown. Note in Fig.(b) how the sinusoids overlap giving a zone enclosed by dashed lines which must not be considered because the value inside is E as outside. In (d), (e), (f) we repeat the process for the second carrier above zero. In (g), (h) we give the results respectively for the first and second carrier below zero. In (i) we show the superimposition of the various figures. Note that the pictures (c), (f), (g), and (h) must be superimposed in such a way to have coincidence of the points labeled A. A threedimensional sketch of the surface obtained is shown in Fig.(l). With respect to a bipolar modulation, it is interesting to note that the shape of the surface
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E
0
E
2E
Fig. 4. Examples of the three techniques: (a) APO; (b) PO; (c) PH. The parameters are M=0.75, P=15, 0=0.
Fig. 5. Building the mathematical model for a bipolar modulation.
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Fig.6. Threedimensional model for a bipolar modulation.
Ln”
AC
2AC
A
1
*
X
AC 2AC
I
 c A 2A C
A
X
0
d)
AC
2AC
2AC AC
0
A

4
 AC
2AC
Fig.7. Building the mathematical model for a multilevel modulation with N=5, M=0.75, P=8, PH disposition: (a), (b), (c): construction of F generated by the first carrier above the zero reference; (d), (e), (f): same for the second carrier; (g) same for the first carrier below; (h) same for the second carrier below; (i) superimposition; (1) resulting threedimensional model.
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changes not only when overmodulation occurs, but each time a higher voltage level is required, i.e. at M=l /NI, 2/N' /...1.
SPECTRAL ANALYSIS The function F(x,y) is periodic. In Fig.8 we show the contour curves of the surface for the three dispositions in the square 0&<2n, sc<y<n.
Said
N"= [M"]+ 1
(8) (9) The families of bases are four as indicated in Fig.10. The integration is similar for the bases of the same family. Having added the contributes of each base, and introducing the relations (3), we can write after several calculations the expression (10) for the PWM signal: v(t) = 41 { M [ ~ X N +sin(2xW+d 1+4cos (xN+1)1sin (q,,t+0) t ~
B= i2n i E Z Q= M N h
x
(4)
d
the number of strict positive levels required by the modulation process, the influence of the parameters N' and M on the shape of the figures is considered by defining N" values xl,x2,...lxN*swhich are the abscissas of the points where the pieces of sinusoid intersect among them or with the boundary of the square. x~49+1=sc/2 considered too, even if in this point there is is no intersection. F(x,y) can be expressed as a double Fourier series as follows:
F(x,~) =
+ 2 &cos (nxN+l) 1 sin (n%t + n 0 ) +
CdJ
&
. 1 [(n+h)xN+d ] sin ( m w +nc%,t + n 0 ) sin
n+h
(10)
t
Po
where
~0.0
+ C [ A,,,~COS (nx) + B,,O
n= 1
sin (nx) I +
+ o O *
+C
[ A,, cos (nx+my) + B , , sin (nx+my) I
m=l ,,=
(51
where
In the above expression, as well as in the following, we indicated with V=N'E half the total DC input voltage.
2) P O disposition Even in this case F has odd simmetry, but
B=i2n iE Z Q= MN'K We choose as integration area the square 01x<27c, n<y<n, which gives x*=O and y*=sc. To calculate the coefficients of the series we divide the integration area in a number of parts called "bases". As an example, it is evident from Fig.9 that the bases equally dashed have a similar shape. Therefore the bases can be gathered in families. A generic base extends between It the points (Xi,%), (Xi,A), (Xi+l, K) and (Xi+l, d. can be noted that each base includes a piece of two zones, whose value depends by M and the position of the base.
1) APO disposition We start calculating the Fourier coefficients for the A P O disposition. The most important features of F(x,y) are: ) F has odd simmetry. Thus the series expansion will contain only sinusoidal terms. ) The pieces of sinusoid which delimit the zones can be expressed as f B k Q sin x (7) where
(12) (13)
The final result is expressed by (14) where
E
" 1
= [arcs:
M61 (&) M >1
3) P H disposition
F has no simmetry properties, and thus sine and cosine terms will be present in the series expansion. In this case
B= in: Q= MN'n The result is expressed by (18)
iEZ
(16) (17)
where
E
1 "
= {arcs:
($1
M,<1 M 1
>
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an
+  + 
+2
1  C n2N'm1
"
M
{J,(mMN'n)[l(l)"].
{e
N'
kl
COS
[ d k  l h ] (xk+ixk)) 
x
l& !l
Jh(mMN'n&l+(lP].
an
.
cos [m(kl)n][ sin [(n+h)xk+l] sin [(n+h)xk]] ) sin (moJ +n%t 
+n0)
+
X2"ml

{ { [1+(1p][1(1y"]
h d
Jh(mMN'n+ n+h
cos [n(kl)rc] { cos [(n+h)xk+l] cos [(n+h)xd ) cos (m%t +nq,,t k 1
N'
+ n a ) }+
E Jh(mMN'n+c h cos [dkl)n] { sin [(n+h)xk+l] sin [(n+h)xd) ) sin (m%t +n%t + n 0 ) 1 n +
"
Fig.8. Contour curves of the surface F(x,y) in a square for: (a) APO disposition (N'bdd); (b) APO disposition (N'kven); (c) PO disposition; (d) PH disposition.
Fig.9. Similarity in the shape of the bases in a APO example.
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Fig.10. Families of bases in the APO case.
As can be seen, the multilevel technique produces, like the bipolar one, modulated signals which consist of three terms:
1 A term giving the amplitude of the fundamental,
which is directly proportional to the modulation index M until MS1. When. overmodulation occurs (M>1), the relation is no more linear, and it is expressed through the new definition of XN'+1. ) A term giving the amplitude of the harmonics at
1.4
multiples of the modulating frequency, which are zero until M>1. In overmodulation the expression of these harmonics is the same for all the three dispositions and for any value of N. As M increases, the values of these components increase up to the harmonics of the square wave. ) A term giving, for n=O, the amplitude of the harmonics at the carrier frequency and multiples. In the APO and PO cases such harmonics do not exist at all. For the PH case no harmonics exist at even
1.4
Fig.11. Amplitude of the main spectral components as a function of M for the APO case with (a) N=3; (b) N=5.
14 .
12
1
0.8
06 .
a)
b)
0.4
0.2
0 0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2s
3
3 . S M 4
00
0.5
1
1,s
2
2.5
3
3.5 h,
4
Fig.12. Amplitude of the main spectral components as a function of M for the PO case with (a) N=3; CO) N=5.
1.4 1.2
1
0.8
06 .
ai
bi
0.4
0.2
. , j ; ;
0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3
0 0
3.5
4
0
0.5
1
15
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
Fig.13. Amplitude of the main spectral components as a function of M for the PH case with (a) N=3; (b) N=5.
.~~ .3 I 4
.3 I 2
1
0 0
"
5
10 15
20
/
I
I
1
'
I
I , .
I ,
0
5 10 15
I
,
25
30
35
40
45
60
0
20
23
harmonic
30
35
49
45
50
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
harmonlo
haimmlc.
Fig.14. Example of the spectra obtained with a fivelevel synchronous modulation with M=0.75, P=15, 0=0, compared with those of a threelevel modulation with the same parameters in the cases: (a) APO; (b) PO; (e) PH.
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multiples of the carrier frequency.
1 The same term for m fixed and n variable provides
the amplitude of the harmonics in the sidebands centered around each multiple of the carrier frequency. In the APO and PO cases only odd order components exist in each sideband. In the PH case only even order components exist in the sidebands centered around odd harmonics of the carrier, and viceversa. The amplitudes of these components reduce in overmodulation as M increases. From an analytical point of view the number N of levels appears in the same way in all the three expressions: 1 The components at the fundamental frequency and multiples are not affected. ) All other harmonics amplitudes are divided by N'. 1 N' also appears in the argument of the Bessel's functions as a multiplying factor. The last two items point out the improvements in the harmonic reduction obtained by multilevel operation. This is evident even from Fig. 11, 12, 13 which show the amplitude (relative to V=N'E) of the main components as a function of the modulation index M for different values of N. When the frequency ratio P is high, there are no substantial differences among the three carrier dispositions proposed, because all the harmonics are shifted to high frequencies so that are easily filtered. A comparison becomes significant when P is not sufficiently high. In this case the PH disposition seems the least interesting due to the large value (greater than the fundamental) of the harmonic at ocfor M low (see Fig.13). However, dealing with threephase inverters and using a singlephase modulation, that harmonic will be of cophasal nature and so will be not present in the current spectrum of the load. In this case the PH disposition becomes the most interesting due to the very little values of the other harmonics. To check the validity of the expressions we simulated several synchronous modulation processes with different values of the parameters. The spectra obtained applying a Fourier series algorithm were compared with those calculated starting from (101, (14), (18) by vectorial summation of the components overlapping at the same frequency. The errors are always<l% and are due to the data,processing. In Fig.14 an example of the spectra obtained with a 5 level modulation is shown, compared with the results of a unipolar (N=3) modulation. CONCLUSIONS In this paper three multilevel PWM techniques for VSI inverters were presented. The multilevel modulation processes were analyzed with a powerful and mathematically rigorous method which provides the analytical expressions of the output phase voltages of the inverter. The results are valid even in overmodulation operation. The improvements in the harmonic contents due to the increased number N of
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levels were highlighted. The most important features of the three techniques were exposed. As a conclusion, the use of a multilevel inverter proves to be very interesting under the aspect of reducing the harmonic contents. However several considerations on the actual structure of the inverter and on the system in which it has to be employed should be done case by case to determine the practical convenience of this solution. On the other hand it is worth noting that the multilevel approach is the only permissible when both reduced harmonic contents and high power are required.
REFERENCES [ l ] M.Marchesoni, "High Performance Current Control Techniques for Applications to Multilevel High Power Voltage Source Inverters", PESC 89 Conf.Rec., Milwaukee, Wisconsin (U.S.A.), June 2629,1989. [2] M.Marchesoni, R.Salutari, S.Savio, G.Sciutto, "Control Strategies for Electric Traction AC Drives Directly Fed Through 3 kV Overhead", Proc. of COMPRAIL 90, Roma (Italy), March 2729,1990. [3] H.S.Pate1, R.G.Hoft, "Generalized Techniques of Harmonic Elimination and Voltage Control in Thyristor Inverter: Part IHarmonic Elimination", IEEE Tran. on Ind. Appl. Vol IA9,1973. [4] A.Nabae, LTakahashi, H.Akagi, "A New NeutralPoint Clamped PWM inverter", IEEE Trans. on Ind. Appl. Vol. IA17, N"5, 1981. [5] M.Marchesoni, M.Mazzucchelli, S.Tenconi, "A Non Conventional Power Converter For Plasma Stabilization", PESC 88 Conf.Rec., Kyoto (Japan), April 1114, 1988. [6] P.M. Bhagwat, V.R.Stefanovic, "Generalized Structure Of A Multilevel PWM Inverter", IEEE Trans. on Ind. Appl. Vol. IA19, N"6, 1983 [7] S.R. Bowes, B.M. Bird, "Novel Approach To The Analysis And Synthesis Of Modulation Processes In Power Converters",Proc.IEE, Vol. 122, N"5, 1975 181 M.Mazzucchelli, L.Puglisi, G.Sciutto, "PWM Systems in Power Converters: An Extension Of The 'Subharmonic' Method", IEEE Trans. on Ind. and Contr. Instr., Vol. IECI28, N"4, 1981 [91 T.L.Grant, T.H.Barton, "Control Strategies for PWM Drives", IEEE Trans. on Ind. App., Vol.IA16, N"2,1980 1101 B.Velaerts, P.Mathys, E.Tatakis, G.Bingen, "A Novel Approach To The Generation And Optimization Of ThreeLevel PWM Waveforms", PESC 88 Conf.Rec.,Kyoto (Japan), April 1114,1988. [ll] J.Hammon, F.S.Van der Merwe, "Voltage Harmonics Generated By Voltagefed Inverters Using PWM Natural Sampling", IEEE Trans. on Pow. Electr., Vol. 3, N"3, 1988 [ 121 S.R.Bowes,"New Sinusoidal PulsewidthModulated Inverter", Proc.IEE, V01.122, N"11, 1975 [131 H.S.Black, "Modulation Theory", D.Van Nostrand company, New York 1953
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