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Bidirectional LLC Resonant Converter for Energy

Storage Applications
Tianyang Jiang, Xiliang Chen, Junming Zhang and Yousheng Wang
College of electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University
Hangzhou, China
Email: {jiangtianyangtc, roobinhio, zhangjm}@zju.edu.cn

Abstract This paper proposes a new LLC resonant DC-DC
topology with bidirectional power flow capability. All the
switches in the proposed topology can achieve zero voltage
switching (ZVS) at turn on, and zero current switching (ZCS) is
achieved for the output side switches at turn off. Compared with
the traditional bidirectional dual active bridge (DAB) converter,
the turn off current is greatly reduced, and the frequency
modulation control scheme can almost eliminate the large
circulating energy. Therefore, the conversion efficiency can be
much improved, which makes it quite attractive in energy
storage applications. The output characteristic of the proposed
LLC converter is different from the conventional unidirectional
LLC resonant converter. A new analytical model is also
proposed in this paper. The detailed operating principle and
performance of the proposed topology are analyzed. And a 1 kW
prototype is built to verify the theoretical analysis. Over 98%
efficiency is achieved base on the prototype.
I. INTRODUCTION
As energy saving and environment protection become
more and more important, lots of research efforts have been
carried out in order to use the energy in a clean and efficient
way. The distributed generation (DG) and smart grid
technologies are emerging with the rapid application growth
of renewable energy resources. However, the intermittent
nature of these resources introduces issues with system
stability, reliability, and power quality. Energy storage
systems (ESSs) are required to against such intermittent
outages for grid-tied and off-grid applications [1]-[3].
Batteries and super capacitors are the most popular energy
storage components considering the price and performance.
Fig. 1 shows a typical DG system with renewable energy
resources and ESSs. The ESSs should have the bidirectional
power flow capability to store the excess energy and release it
during peak times of energy consumption [4]-[6]. And the
bidirectional DC-DC converter is a key component in these
applications to enable the bidirectional power flow.
Bidirectional DC-DC converters for ESSs should have the
characters like high power density, high efficiency and high
reliability. Various kinds of bidirectional DC-DC topologies
have been proposed [7]-[9]. Among these topologies, the dual
active bridge (DAB) converter has attracted a lot of research
interests in recent years, due to its simple structure, wide range
soft switching capability and high efficiency. Though DAB
topology is widely adopted as an interface for ESSs and solid
state transformers [10]-[12], it suffers from high circulating
energy and high turn off current which causes high power loss
and deteriorates the efficiency. A lot of methods have been
proposed to further improve its efficiency and performance.
An improved DAB topology with the reduced circulating
energy and simple control scheme was proposed in [13], but
the topology loses the bidirectional power flow capability.
Several Dual-Phase-Shifted control methods were proposed to
minimize the circulating energy and increase the efficiency in
[14][15], but the control methods are complex and the turn off
loss is still high.
The turn off power loss is related to the turn off current,
which can be reduced by operated the DAB topology in series
resonant mode with an extra resonant capacitor, i.e. dual
bridge series resonant converter (DBSRC) [16][17]. However,
it can be only operated under buck mode which is not suitable
for wide output range applications like ESSs. A new
bidirectional SRC for wide voltage range application with
clamped capacitor voltage was studied in [18], but the
topology itself is quite complex due to the auxiliary circuits.
Among the resonant converters, the LLC resonant
converter has superior performance compared to the SRC,
especially for buck/boost operation capability, narrow
switching frequency variation and higher efficiency [19]. But
very little research works on bidirectional LLC resonant
converter is reported in literature. A bidirectional LLC
resonant topology for vehicular applications was proposed in
[20]. However, the topology is still a conventional SRC during
backward mode, which is still not preferred for wide voltage
range application. In [21], a bidirectional CLLC resonant
converter with two resonant tanks in the transformer primary
side and secondary side was proposed. The extra resonant tank

Figure 1. The typical DG system with ESSs

PV
Fuel Cell
Wind Power
DC-DC
DC-DC
AC-DC
D
C





B
U
S
DC-AC
DC-DC
Bidirectional
DC-DC
Energy Storage System
DC Load
AC Load
Battery
Super capacitor
978-1-4673-4355-8/13/$31.00 2013 IEEE 1145

Figure 2. The proposed bidirectional LLC resonant converter.
increases the cost and volume of the converter, and the voltage
gain is reduced compared to the traditional LLC converter.
Furthermore, the current in output side has to flow through the
body diodes of switches which may cause high reverse
recovery current.
This paper proposes a new bidirectional LLC resonant
converter for ESSs applications. In order to achieve
bidirectional power flow and maintain the buck/boost
operation capability in any mode, an extra inductor is added
between the midpoints of two switches legs in transformer
primary side as shown in Fig. 2. The switches in the input side
are switched with 50% duty cycle as traditional LLC resonant
converter and the switching frequency modulation is used to
regulate the output power. All the switches in the proposed
topology can achieve ZVS. And ZCS is achieved for the
switches in the output side. The switches in output side are
also operated with same switching frequency as the input side
switches to prevent current from flowing through the body
diodes, thus the current in the proposed topology are always in
continuous conduction mode (CCM). In order analyze the
output characteristic of the proposed bidirectional LLC
resonant topology, a new analysis method based on the
fundamental harmonic approximation (FHA) method is also
introduced in this paper. The detailed operating principle of
the proposed bidirectional LLC resonant converter is
presented in Section II. The theoretical analysis based on the
proposed FHA method is given in Section III. The
experimental verification from a 1 kW prototype is given in
Section IV. Efficiency over 98% is achieved at full lad based
on the prototype.
II. PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION
The proposed bidirectional LLC resonant converter is
shown in Fig. 2. The primary side and secondary side are both
full-bridge structures consisting 4 MOSFETs. It should be
noted that a half-bridge structure can also be used. An extra
inductor L
m2
is added between point A and point B as shown
in Fig. 2. In forward mode, the resonant inductor L
r
, resonant
capacitor C
r
and transformer magnetizing inductor L
m1
form
the LLC resonant tank, and the extra inductor L
m2
is used to
help achieve ZVS of primary side switches. In backward
mode, L
m2
is served as the resonant inductor, which makes the
operation of the proposed converter exactly the same as that in
forward mode. And the transformer magnetizing inductor L
m1

is used to help achieve ZVS for secondary side switches. If
L
m2
is equal to L
m1
, the proposed topology is a symmetrical
LLC resonant converter both for forward mode and backward
mode. For simplification, only the operating principle in
forward mode is discussed in the paper.
The steady state operation waveforms are shown in Fig. 3.
Fig. 3(a) to Fig. 3(c) show the waveforms when the switching
frequency is below, equal and above the resonant frequency f
r

respectively.
The gate drive signals for M1, M4, M5 and M8 are the
same and with 50% duty cycle, which is complementary to the
gate signals for M2, M3, M6 and M7 without considering the
small dead time. Thus the conduction of body diodes of
MOSFETs in secondary side can be minimized, which helps
to reduce conduction loss and avoid severe reverse recovery
problem. And the current in the output side will always be in
CCM, which is different from traditional LLC converter.
A. f
s
< f
r

There are three operating modes in a half switching cycle
when the switching frequency is below the resonant frequency.
Mode 1 (t
0
- t
1
)
:
M1, M4, M5 and M8 turn on at t
0
, i
r
and
current of L
m2
are both negative at the moment, so current
through M1 and M4 is negative and they can be turned on
with ZVS. Since i
r
is higher than i
Lm1
at t
0
, thus i
s
> 0, M5 and
M8 turn on with ZVS. The voltage across point C and point D
is equal to the output voltage and the voltage across L
m1
is
equal to nV
o
, so i
Lm1
increases linearly during this mode.
Voltage across L
m2
is equal to the input voltage and its current
increases linearly, too. This mode ends when i
r
is equal to
i
Lm1
at t
1
.
Mode 2 (t
1
t
2
): i
s
is zero at t
1
, as M5 and M8 are still on,
i
Lm1
will keep increasing and i
s
will drop to below zero.
Current through M5 and M8 will be positive (from drain to
source). This mode ends when M1, M4, M5 and M8 turn off
at t
2
. Though turn off current of MOSFETs in the secondary
side is not zero, its much smaller than the turn off current in
DAB converter.
Mode 3 (t
2
t
3
): M1, M4, M5 and M8 turn off at t
3
. In the
secondary side i
s
is negative and current in secondary begins to
charge the parasitic capacitors of M5 and M8 and discharge
the parasitic capacitors of M6 and M7. After the voltage of the
parasitic capacitors of M5 and M8 are charged to V
o
, current
begin to flow through the body diodes of M6 and M7. In this
way, M6 and M7 can be turned on with ZVS. Then the
voltage across L
m1
changes to -nV
o
, and i
Lm1
begins to decrease.
In primary side, i
r
plus the auxiliary inductor current i
Lm2

will charge the parasitic capacitors of M1 and M4, and
discharge the parasitic capacitors of M2 and M3 until the
voltage across the parasitic capacitors of M1 and M4 equal to
the input voltage, then current in the primary side begin to
flow through the body diodes of M2 and M3. The auxiliary
inductor current i
lm2
helps to charge and discharge the parasitic
capacitors and the zero voltage switching is easier to be
achieved.
In the next half switching cycle, the operation is almost the
same, which will not be elaborated here.
B. f
s
= f
r

1146
When the switching frequency is equal to the resonant
frequency, there are only two operating modes in half
switching cycle. The Mode 2 described above

is not existed
anymore, which means that no energy is fed from output side
back to the input side.
C. f
s
> f
r

When the switching frequency is higher than the resonant
frequency, there are also three operating modes in half
switching cycle.
Mode 1 (t
0
- t
1
): This operating mode is exactly the same as
Mode 1 we described when f
s
< f
r
, which is not repeated here.

(a) (b)

(c)
Figure 3. Waveforms of the proposed topology

Mode 2 (t
1
t
2
): M1, M4, M5 and M8 turn off at t
1
, the
parasitic capacitors of M1 and M4 are charged to the input
voltage by i
Lm2
and i
r
, and then current in primary side will
flow through the body diodes of M2 and M3. The current of
L
m2
helps to achieve ZVS. In secondary side, since i
s
is still
above zero, the body diode of M5 and M8 keep on, which will
drop quickly to zero at t
2
, then this mode ends.
Mode 3 (t
2
t
3
): i
r
is equal to i
Lm1
at t
2
, and then i
s
will
change its direction. Since M5 and M8 are already off, the
current will flow through the body diodes of M6 and M7.
Then M6 and M7 can be turned on with ZVS.
As described above, the auxiliary inductor L
m2
doesnt
influence the operating principle in forward mode, and it only
helps to achieve the ZVS of the switches in the primary side.
All the switches in the topology can achieve ZVS. Soft current
commutation of the switches in the output side can be
achieved as conventional LLC resonant converter when the
switching frequency is above or equal to the resonant
frequency. When the switching frequency is lower than the
resonant frequency, there is small circulating energy and the
turn off current of secondary side MOSFET is very small.
III. PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS
The FHA method is widely used to analyze the output
characteristics of LLC resonant converter. And the load along
with the diode rectifier is usually represented by an equivalent
AC resistor .But the results like voltage gain derived by this
model is not accurate especially when the switching frequency
is below the resonant frequency due to some assumption to
derive the equivalent AC resistance is not maintained anymore
.
However in the proposed topology, since the secondary
side current is always in CCM even when f
s
<f
r
. There is a
phase difference between the transformer secondary side
voltage and current as shown in Fig. 3(a), the impedance of
the transformer secondary side is not resistive anymore, which
means the conventional equivalent AC resistor method is not
applicable. A new analysis model using equivalent AC voltage
is proposed. The equivalent circuit is shown in Fig. 4.
In Fig. 4, v
CD1
(t)

represents the fundamental component of
the equivalent output voltage v
CD
(t) referred to the primary
side, and the expression is given in (1) based n Fourier
decomposition. The equivalent AC output current (transformer
secondary side current referred to the primary side) is i
CD1
(t)
and it can be expressed as in (2), where A is the amplitude of
i
CD1
(t) and is the phase angle between i
CD1
(t) and v
CD1
(t).
The output power can be expressed as in (3), and then A can
be derived and i
CD1
(t) is given in (4). The equivalent output
impedance is given in (5).

Figure 4. The equivalent circuit.

M1,M4
M5,M8
vAB
M2,M3
M6,M7
vCD
VCr
ir
iLm1
M1,M4
M5,M8
is
im5
t0 t1t2t3
io
t4t5
iLm2
M1,M4
M5,M8
vAB
M2,M3
M6,M7
vCD
VCr
ir
iLm1
M1,M4
M5,M8
is
im5
t0 t1t2t3
io
t4t5
iLm2
1147
1
4
( ) sin
o
CD
nV
v t t

= (1)
1( ) sin( ) CD i t A t = + (2)
2
2 2
cos
2
o o
o
o
nV A V
P
R

= = (3)
1( ) sin( )
2 cos
o
CD
o
V
i t t
nR

= + (4)
2
1
2
1
8 cos CD o
e
CD
v n V
Z
i

= =

(5)
A. Voltage gain
The voltage gain G is the ratio of the equivalent output
voltage and the equivalent input voltage as given in (6):
o
in
nV
G
V
= (6)
According to the equivalent circuit, the voltage gain can be
expressed as follows:
1
1
1
e m
e m r
r
Z j L
G=
Z j L j L
j C

+ +

(7)
Then the voltage gain can be solved and is shown in (8).
The voltage gain of traditional unidirectional LLC resonant
converter derived by using the equivalent AC resistance is
shown in (9). It is seen that when f
s
f
r
, the voltage gain of the
proposed topology is lower than the traditional unidirectional
LLC converter with the existence of . When f
s
f
r
, will be
zero, then the voltage gain of the proposed topology is same
with traditional LLC resonant converter.
2
2 2
2 2 2
1
G=
1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1+ (1- ) 2Qtan (x- )[1+ (1- )]+Q (x- )
k x k x x x cos





(8)
2 2 2
2
1
G=
1 1 1
[1+ (1- )] +Q (x - )
k x x
(9)
Where
1 m
r
L
k
L
= ,
2
2
8
r
o
Z
Q
n R

= ,
s
r
f
x
f
= .
B. Phase angle
In a half switching cycle, inductor current i
r
can be
expressed as in (10), where is the initial phase of i
r
. But
methods to calculate the exact value of will be complicated,
so i
r
can be approximately expressed as in (11), where I
r
(0) is
seen as the initial value of i
r
.
1
sin( )
o in
r
r r r
r
nV V
i t
L L C
C

= (10)
1
sin( ) (0)
o in
r r
r r r
r
nV V
i t I
L L C
C

+ (11)
The current of magnetizing inductance i
Lm1
can be
expressed as in (12).
1
1 1 4
o o
Lm
m m s
nV nV
i t
L L f
= (12)
1
o
r Lm
i
i i
n
= (13)
According to equation (13), the average value of the output
current can be expressed in (14). Then the initial phase of i
r
can be solved as in (15).
2
1 1
0
1
[ sin( ) (0) ]
4
2
Ts
o in o o
r
m m s r r r
o
r
o
s
o
nV V nV nV
n t I t dt
L L f L L C
V
C
I
T
R

+ +
= =


(14)
( )(1 cos )
(0)
o in
o
r
o r
x V V
V
x
I
nR Z


= (15)
When i
r
is equal to i
Lm1
, i
o
is equal to zero, then (13) can be
derived into (16).
2
( )(1 cos )
8
sin( ) ( ) 0
2
o in
o in o o
r r r r
x V V
nV V nV Q nV
x
Z x Z kxZ Z




+ =
(16)
Taking (8) into (16), it will be an equation of x and , and
the left side of the equation can be regarded as a function of x
and , which is f(x, ). Then taking different value of x into
f(x, ) and depict its curve, so the intersection of f(x, ) and
y=0, is the value of at the corresponding switching
frequency. Fig. 5 shows the value of corresponding to x
where k is set to 4. It is seen that will increase when Q
decreases of the switching frequency get lower.
C. Reverse energy
When f
s
is higher than f
r
, is equal to zero, therefore the
output voltage and output current are in phase and there is no
reverse energy. When f
s
is lower than f
r
the ratio of reverse
power P
b
and output power P
o
can be solved as follows:
1 1
1 1
0
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
CD CD
b
o
CD CD
v t i t dt
P
P
v t i t dt

(17)
1148
sin cos
2 cos
b
o
P
P

= (18)
For a traditional DAB converter with the voltage gain
equals to 1, the ratio of reverse energy and output energy can
be shown as follows [14]:
4( )
b
o
P
P


=

(19)
Where is the phase shift angle between the switches in
primary side and secondary side.
A comparison of reverse energy between the proposed
converter and the traditional DAB converter is shown in Fig.
7. It is obviously that though reverse energy in the proposed
topology is much smaller than that of the traditional DAB
converter.

Figure 5. The value of at different switching frequency

Figure 6. Ratio of turn off current and the amplitude of the
output current when k=4. From the bottom to top are curves
when Q=0.3, Q=0.4 and Q=0.5

(a)

(b)
Figure 7. (a) reverse energy of the proposed bidirectional
LLC converter; (b) reverse energy of DAB converter.
IV. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
A 1kW prototype system is built up to verify the analysis
above. The input voltage V
in
is 400V and output voltage V
o

ranges from 160V to 220V; transformer turns ratio n is equal
to 2; the resonant frequency f
r
is 100 kHz.
It is expected that the switching frequency shouldnt be too
low to cause additional loss, in this way the lowest switching
frequency is set to70 kHz. Full load output resistor R
f
is set to
50. k shouldnt be too large to avoid high conducting loss,
and neither too small which will make the voltage gain less
than 1 when f
s
< f
r
, so k is set to 4. L
r
is set to 115uH, C
r
is set
to 22nF, and L
m1
and L
m2
are set to 460uH.
For operation in backward mode is symmetry to forward
mode, only waveforms in forward mode is shown. Fig. 8
shows the waveforms when f
s
is lower than f
r
, and Fig. 9
shows the waveforms when f
s
is higher than f
r
. It is seen that
ZVS is achieved and turn off current in secondary side is very
small when the switching frequency is lower than the resonant
frequency, and the turn off current will be zero when the
switching frequency is higher than the resonant frequency.
Fig. 10 compares the voltage gain in experimental results,
voltage gain derived by traditional method and voltage gain
derived by the proposed method. When the switching
frequency is lower than the resonant frequency, voltage gain
derived by traditional voltage gain formula is much higher
than the experimental results and is obviously not accurate,
while voltage gain solved by the proposed voltage gain

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1


5 10
3

2.5 10
3

0
2.5 10
3

5 10
3

0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.75 0.8 0.85 0.9 0.95 1
x(f
s
/f
r
)
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
0
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.1

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6


0
0.06
0.12
0.18
0.24
0.3

1149
formula is a little lower than the experimental results but is
much closer to them.
When the switching frequency is higher than the resonant
frequency, voltage gain derived by each method is the same
and are both approximate to the experimental results. So the
voltage gain derived by the proposed method will be more
adaptable in theoretical analysis.
Fig. 11 compares the efficiency of the proposed converter
and DAB converter with same output voltage. The efficiency
of the DAB converter with traditional control strategy is tested
with the same voltage gain (G=1) and the same power rate
(1000w). It is seen that the maximum efficiency of proposed
converter is about 98.2% at 70% load, which is 5% higher
than DAB converter. The efficiency of the proposed topology
at full load is about 98%, and it will be higher than 97% in
most load conditions. It is obvious that the efficiency of
bidirectional LLC resonant converter improves a lot compares
to the traditional DAB converter.

Figure 8: full load test results with V
o
=210V when f
s
< f
r
.

Figure 9: Full load test results with V
o
=190V when f
s
> f
r
.

Figure 10 Voltage gain of experimental results and calculated
by traditional and proposed method when Q=0.5.

Figure 11. Efficiency of the proposed topology and the DAB
converter when the voltage gain is equal to 1.
V. CONCLUSIONS
This paper proposed a LLC resonant topology which has
an improved circuit structure to achieve the bidirectional
power flow capability. It can achieve ZVS for all the
MOSFETs with and soft current commutation in the output
side when f
s

f
r
, while the turn off current when f
s
< f
r
is also
very small. Besides, the proposed converter has very little
circulating energy compared to traditional DAB converter.
These characters contribute to the high efficiency and it can be
above 98% at full load. So the proposed bidirectional topology
will be popular in energy storage applications like batteries
and super-capacitors.
The control scheme of the proposed topology is different
from the unidirectional LLC resonant converter that the
MOSFETs in secondary side also turn on and off according to
the related primary side, in this way the reverse recovery
current at turning off is limited. A new analyze model is also
proposed based on the FHA method, and the corresponding
circuit performance like voltage gain, ZVS region, and reverse
energy are all analyzed in detail, which is more accurate than
the traditional analyze method. A prototype of 1 kW is built
and confirms the theoretical analysis well.
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