IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC), September 3-5, 2008, Harbin, China

Large Signal Stability Analysis of DC Power
Systems with Constant Power Loads
A. Griffo, J. Wang and D. Howe

Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Sheffield, Mappin Street, S1 3JD Sheffield, UK.

Abstract—This paper presents a detailed analysis of the
dynamic behaviour under large disturbances of a high
voltage DC electric power system representative of the
power distribution networks which are commonly being
proposed for future “more electric” vehicles. Numerical
simulations are undertaken to analyze the region of
asymptotic stability of the system under different operating
conditions. Analytical derivations based on the use of the
Brayton-Moser Mixed Potential are employed along with
Lyapunov stability theorems to determine an analytical
estimation of the stability region.
Keywords— DC Power systems; Stability analysis;



Electric generation and distribution systems in
vehicular technologies are continuously increasing in
complexity and power levels as a result of the continuous
trend towards “more electric” vehicles in which an
increasingly significant portion of the mechanical and
hydraulic power required for actuation and environmental
control is being substituted by electric power, with
expected benefits in terms of increased efficiency,
reduced costs and environmental impact [1]-[3]. The
resulting increased complexity of the required electric
power systems creates new challenges in terms of design
optimization, system analysis and control. In particular,
the interactions among several interconnected nonlinear
devices may give rise to complex dynamics, which can
pose serious concerns in power system analysis and
integration for “more electric” vehicles. Stability
problems caused by negative impedance behaviour
resulting from constant power characteristic of tightly
regulated loads not only constitute a potentially harmful
threat to system’s reliable behaviour, but also lead to
demanding constraints on components optimization in
terms of sizing, weight and ultimately cost [4].
Stability analysis of distribution systems with power
electronics converters and motor drives has usually been
carried out using small-signal techniques, in which
system’s equations are linearized about the equilibrium
point and the resulting small-signal models are analyzed
using classical eigenvalues and frequency domain
techniques [5]-[7]. Although small-signal analysis
provides useful insight into conditions for stability of an
equilibrium point, the characterization of the boundary of
the asymptotic stability region is of paramount
importance for protection sizing and for understanding

C 2008 IEEE

system’s behaviour following large perturbations.
Although a complete characterization of the stability
boundary and the behaviour of the system during
transients could in principle be obtained by means of
numerical integration of the differential equations
governing the dynamical system, the computational
burden involved limits the applicability of numerical
techniques to low dimensional systems [8]. Furthermore,
numerical analysis provides little insight into the
influence of parameters variations, requiring repeated
simulations for each different contingency or parameters
Most of the analytical methods proposed so far for
large-signal stability analysis of nonlinear dynamical
systems, relate the stability properties of an equilibrium
point to the existence of a scalar function which measures
some energetic content associated to the state variables of
the system. Indeed, the well known Lyapunov’s theorem
states that the existence of a scalar function V(x), referred
to as a Lyapunov function, locally positive definite about
the equilibrium point, with a locally negative semidefinite (or definite) time derivative along the trajectories
of the system, is a sufficient condition for the equilibrium
point to be locally (asymptotically) stable [9]. Lyapunovbased approaches allow the assessment of stability
properties of a dynamical system without the need for
numerical solutions of differential equations, and provide
criteria for an estimation of the stability region, rather
than proving stability around an operating point.
Although the converse Lyapunov theorem for an
asymptotically stable system guarantees the existence of a
locally positive definite function with negative definite
time derivative, apart from linear systems, no systematic
way for constructing such a function exists, therefore the
most common approach for general nonlinear systems is
by trial and error. A number of methods have been
proposed to generate Lyapunov function candidates. Most
of them have however limited applicability to particular
classes of systems, or rely on simplifying assumptions
which usually lead to very conservative results [10].
Relying only on the topological description of a
generic nonlinear electric circuit, R.K. Brayton and J.K.
Moser (BM) proposed a general method to derive a scalar
function, known as mixed potential, which can in turn be
used to construct Lyapunov functions useful for stability
analysis of the circuit itself [11]. Although BM’s mixed
potential analysis has already been applied to the stability

comprising a constant power load supplied via a second order passive filter by an ideal DC source.4 0. 2008. The equations of the circuit in Fig. vdc (V) 1600 1400 idc 1200 vdc 1000 800 (a) 600 400 200 0 0 0. September 3-5.or 18-pulse rectifier which guarantee low DC voltage ripple. The R and L represent the combined effect of the DC link filter inductor. In the paper a thorough analysis of the dynamics and stability properties of a simplified distribution system.03 0. Rdiode = ⎨ ⎩ R f . Rl=20Ω is studied with . In parallel with a resistive load Rl. C=600μF. Although higher order filters might be required in practical applications to provide a steeper roll-off in the filter frequency response. Figure 1. 1 are readily derived as: di L dc = v eq − v diode − Ri dc − v dc (1) dt dv dc v dc PCPL C = i dc − − dt Rl v dc 0 0 0. although simplified still maintains the main dynamics of an actual system while being amenable to a detailed analytical and graphical description. nonlinearities are not taken into account in the stability criteria derived in [12].2 t (s) (b) 200 where 2000 idc idc (A). 800 700 vdc 600 500 400 (b) 300 200 (a) 100 0 0 500 1000 1500 Figure 2.IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC). 1. Schematic of simplified DC bus system containing a nonlinear constant power load 1000 900 II. which corresponds to the ideal case of an infinitely stiff AC bus.6 0.01 0. the proposed analysis can be readily applied to alternative configurations as well. is presented. respectively. Despite this simplification the dynamics of the system are reasonably close to those of a controlled DC bus powered through a 12. China analysis of power distribution systems with constant power loads. Phase-plane trajectories are first analyzed for different system conditions. and (b) bottom Assuming a constant voltage drop on the diode. Phase-portrait of system (1) at PCPL=100kW idc (A).05 0. R=30mΩ. DC voltage and current for trajectories (a) top. the nonlinear constant power load represented by the ideal current source iCPL = PCPL vdc constitutes an equivalent model of a motor drive with a sufficiently high speed and/or current control loop bandwidth [7].8 1 ⎧ Rr . idc ≥ 0 (2) with Rf <<Rr where Rf and Rr represent forward and reverse conduction equivalent resistances. idc < 0 vdiode = Rdiode (i ) ⋅ idc . which are therefore likely to result in overly conservative requirements.4 -4 x 10 1000 idc vdc 800 600 400 vdiode is the voltage across the equivalent diode which for the sake of simplicity will be modelled as a nonlinear resistive voltage drop: 1. the system’s equilibrium points are given by: Rl (v eq − v diode ) ± Rl2 (v eq − v diode ) − 4 PCPL RRl ( R + Rl ) 2 v0 = i0 = 2( R + Rl ) (3) veq − v diode − v0 R The dynamics of the DC system (1) with Veq=540V. L=30μH. BM’s mixed potential analysis is subsequently applied to the study of the stability region of the DC network. the cable and transformer leakage inductances and the commutation overlapping of the diode rectifier reflected on the DC side.2 0.04 0. The voltage source Veq is assumed to be constant. A second order LC filter is employed for DC voltage stabilization and harmonic distortion attenuation.02 0. vdc (V) DC POWER SYSTEM AND STABILITY CHARACTERIZATION Figure 1 shows an equivalent circuit of a DC bus network which. Harbin. In subsequent analytical derivations a smooth transition using sigmoid-shaped function is employed to approximate the step in (2). An equivalent constant DC source with a diode in series is used to represent the AC to DC rectifier.06 t (s) Figure 3.

where an Hopf bifurcation occurs. eventually damps down to the equilibrium point. vdc (V) vdc (V) 2 640 640 440 1. 6-7).025 t (s) 0. when the current approaches zero the capacitor starts discharging while the current remains close to zero until the capacitor voltage decreases below the source voltage. which coincide at the bifurcation point. September 3-5.015 0. 2-3). 5. 1000 idc 900 vdc 800 idc (A). For 179kW<PCPL<190kW the stable limit cycle coexists with the unstable one.04 Figure 7. eventually colliding with it at PCPL=186kW. Transients starting outside the stability region will not approach the equilibrium again.2 0. As depicted in Fig. on the other hand. Trajectory (b) in Figs.03 0. DC voltage and current waveforms on the limit cycle for PCPL=179kW vdc (V) phase-plane analysis which provide useful insight into the behaviour of low order dynamical systems [13]-[14]. one attracting and one repelling. vdc (V) 580 540 520 500 500 400 350 460 300 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 (a) 450 480 0 idc vdc 0. while the load current demand increases unlimited until the intervention of a protection device. At this point the diode starts conducting again. Any trajectory starting inside the stable limit cycle will converge to it with increasingly larger 800 (b) idc vdc 600 idc (A).6 900 idc (A) Figure 4. At the base power level (PCPL=100kW). Increasing the power demand of the constant power load up to a critical value of 179kW a global bifurcation determines the birth of two limit cycles. determining a stable oscillatory trajectory as shown in Fig.4 0. 4. 8. 2008.01 0.5 Figure 5.1 0. while DC currents and voltage transients are eventually damped out ending on the stable equilibrium point. with the voltage rapidly collapsing to zero (trajectory (a) Figs. a trajectory starting outside the attracting limit cycle will eventually be attracted by it. will converge to the equilibrium point.5 0. for a trajectory in the region (a) (top) and (b) (bottom) .IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC). 6-7). Phase-portrait of system (1) at PCPL=186kW 600 600 560 550 idc (A). 2-3 depicts a transient which despite an initial large excursion of state variables. The unstable limit cycle shrinks towards the stable equilibrium point as PCPL increases. 400 200 0 0 0. as shown by the trajectory starting at the unstable equilibrium point and ending on the limit cycle reported in Fig. the stable operating point is surrounded by a large attracting region.02 0. A trajectory starting inside the limit cycle.3 t (s) 0. Due to the unidirectional nature of the diode which does not allow the current to reverse its sign. China oscillations. vdc (V) 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 0 0.5 1 t (s) -3 x 10 620 600 580 560 540 (a) (b) 520 500 480 460 440 0 100 200 300 620 400 idc (A) 500 600 700 800 Figure 6. destroying the small-signal stability of the equilibrium. Phase-portrait of system (1) at PCPL=179kW Trajectories starting outside the unstable limit cycle will be repelled by it and eventually approach the outer stable limit cycle (region and trajectory (b) in Figs.005 0. Harbin. Any trajectory starting in the region of the phase-plane encircled by the unstable inner limit cycle will converge to the stable equilibrium point (region and trajectory (a) in Figs. DC voltage and current waveforms for PCPL=186kW.035 0.

It can be shown that the mixed potential for the nonlinear circuit (1) is given by: ⎞ ⎟⎟ P (i dc . possibly nonlinear. such that P* is decreasing along all trajectories of the system. Figure 11 shows P* as a function of the state variables. and the sums over the set of current controlled and voltage controlled resistors Ni .: idc 400 200 0 0 0. preventing its use as a Lyapunov function.IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC). J ⋅ x ) dt ⎝ ∂x ⎠ P 1 ⎛ R + Rdiode ⎜⎜ + CPL 2 2⎝ L Cv min v dc > v min = dP*/dt idc 1 P(i dc . DC voltage and current waveforms for PCPL=190kW III. v) = where P(x) is a scalar function defined as the mixed potential of the system.25 0. demonstrated that the dynamics of a topologically complete nonlinear circuit. 2008. The time derivative of the mixed potential P(x) or (-P(x)).15 t (s) 0. 9-10 illustrate the time derivative of P* as a function of the state-space variables confirming that P*<0 in the halfplane defined by (11). Brayton Moser proposed three methods to derive. are described by the equations: − J ⋅ x = ∂P(x ) . v dc ) = − Ri dc2 − ∫ Rdiode (i ) ⋅ i di 2 2 vdc P 1 v dc CPL + +∫ dν + i dc (v eq − v dc ) 2 Rl ν (9) which can be demonstrated to have negative definite time derivative in the state-space half-plane given by: (5) ∈N v Γ ) P* can.K. L and C being. 9 10 80 60 40 (7) 20 0 -20 Using the mixed potential (7) it is easy to verify that system’s equations (1) can be derived from the gradient of P. Time derivative of P* vdc (V) . Depending on circuit topology and nonlinearities. be employed together with LaSalle invariance principle. In the general case. the total current potential F(i) and the total voltage potential G(v) are given by: F (i ) = ( P * (i. scalar functions P*(x) and positive definite matrices J*. however. dt ⎝ ∂x ⎠ (8) -40 600 -60 100 500 200 idc [A] 400 300 400 300 Figure 9. respectively. matrices containing circuit’s inductances and capacitances.K. vdc (V) is negative definite for circuits containing capacitors (inductors) only.2 0. G(v ) = ρ∑ ∫ i ρ dv ρ ∈N i Γ (6) The integrals in (6) are extended over a system’s trajectory Γ. respectively. J * x ≤ 0 = ⎜⎜ x . under the very general assumptions of validity of Kirchhoff’s laws. Brayton and J. ⎟ = −(x . (4). China 800 vdc 600 idc (A).e. September 3-5. and Nv . confirming that it is positive definite in a large region containing the equilibrium point.1 0. to establish conditions for asymptotic stability of the equilibrium point * x = 0 or ∂P * / ∂x = 0 [9]-[10]. vdc ) ⎠ [ + 1 Veq − vdc − (R + Rdiode )idc 2L + P ⎞ 1 ⎛ vdc ⎜⎜ − i dc + CPL ⎟⎟ 2C ⎝ Rl v dc ⎠ ] 2 (10) 2 PCPL C (R + R f ) L + 1 Rl (11) The three-dimensional and contour plots of Figs.e. Using the construction procedure detailed in [11] and [15] the mixed potential can be demonstrated to be: P (v . Harbin. according to Eq.3 Figure 8.05 0. dP/dt is sign-indefinite. which still satisfy (4). from P and J. i. ⎜ v⎟ ∂x ⎝ ⎠ ⎡− L 0 ⎤ J=⎢ ⎥ ⎣ 0 C⎦ ∑ ∫ v ρ di . therefore allowing P(x) or (-P(x)) to be used for stability analysis in conjunction with LaSalle invariance principle. therefore. Moser.0 depending on the circuit topology. γ ⋅ v dP * (x ) ⎛ ∂P * ⎞ ⎟⎟ = − x . a circuit in which every branch current and voltage can be obtained from the set of inductor currents i and capacitor voltages v. given by: dP(x ) ⎛ ∂P ⎞ = ⎜ x . i. x = ⎛⎜ i ⎞⎟. The function P in the present case is obtained as: (4) where γ is a constant matrix with elements ±1. STABILITY ANALYSIS WITH BRAYTON-MOSER’S MIXED POTENTIAL R. i ) = F (i ) − G (v ) + i.

C. Systems Magazine.4 -0.Q. vol. n. 2007. 4. Williamson.H. 95. vol. Schmucker and D. in Proc.1 0 -0. coupled with the existence of a region containing the equilibrium point (EP) where dP*/dt<0.4 [5] 0. Proceedings of the IEEE. Y. Aldabas.52 1 350 -0. 36.2 100 IV. IEEE Trans. vol. Emadi. Han and D. Analytical derivations based on the use of the circuit’s Brayton and Moser mixed potential have been presented to obtain a characterization of the region of asymptotic stability of the equilibrium point. vdc ) ≤ min P * (idc . n. vol. J. pp. Wang. Zhu.F. this condition. n. “Constant power loads and negative impedance instability in automotive systems: definitions. S. L. Contour plot of the Time derivative of P According to the Lyapunov theorem.8 0.4 -0. Gao. “Modeling of power electronic loads in AC distribution systems using the generalized state-space averaging method”.vdc) idc [A] 200 300 400 500 idc (A) 600 700 800 900 REFERENCES 1. Sudhoff. 3-9. Howe.2 800 600 550 500 450 vdc [V] 400 400 350 200 300 0 Figure 11 Function P*(idc. M. and Fuel Cell Vehicles". A.. It is found that the load level can significantly influence the amplitude of the asymptotic stability region..1 -3 -10 vdc (V) 500 vdc [V] -3 -4 -0. “Moving towards a more electric aircraft”. pp.1 -6 -6 -16 -10-12-14 -8 700 650 -25-30 -20 -1 600 -4 450 -2 4 8 15 10 20 300 100 -6 -2 550 -16 -10-12 -14 -8 -1 -0. vdc ) : P * (idc .A.T.A. E. an estimate of the region of asymptotic stability (RAS) is given by the region [10]: { } RAS = (idc . Ortega. 12 for system (1) with PCPL=100kW. 746-765.IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC). Harbin. Griffo. D. Glover. September 3-5. but also design criteria for system’s components and protection sizing.1 -2 0 0.5 0 1 -0. According to LaSalle invariance principle. no. 2004. the RAS estimate is still large enough to contain most of the practically admissible transients according to the specifications set by the currently employed standards for ±270V DC buses.4 350 300 250 1 2 350 400 200 * Figure 10. Thus equations 10 and 12 can be used to establish the stability boundary of the HVDC system under large signal disturbances. 55.4 1. Industrial Elect. 22. 95. modeling. Jul.5 500 [6] [7] M. CONCLUSION A thorough analysis of the dynamic behaviour of an HVDC electric power distribution system with constant power loads has been presented.4 -0. “Admittance space stability analysis of power electronic systems”. Lamm. 4. 2007 A. thus providing not only a tool for the description of the safe operating area. demonstrates the existence of a basin of attraction for trajectories asymptotically converging towards the EP. Romeral. D. pp. Apr.4 -6 -4 -2 -1 -0.E. VPPC 2007 . n.5 1 2 4 6 8 15 10 20 150 200 -3 -4 -2 -1 0.5 0 0 1 4 2 6 250 idc (A) 300 -0. 5.4 -1 -8 400 -3 -4 -0. Ehsani. Vehicular Tech. 33. 2000. Mar. 1112-1125 A. Miller. Apr. "Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Architecture and Motor Drives". [2] 9 10 0 Figure 12 Estimate of RAS for system (1) with PCPL=100kW [1] 0 600 450 400 4 0. IEEE Trans. Oct. 2008. China 600 -3 10 -1 -8 550 -2 -0. J. A. Systems. Aerospace Elect. 2007 Z. vmin ) idc (12) whose boundary is shown with the dashed line in Fig.H. Although conservative as expectable given the sufficient but not necessary condition guaranteed by the application of the Lyapunov theorem. 3. vol. 4. Howe.1 0 0 0. Delisle.10 0. "Electrical Machines and Drives for Electric. 2007. 965-973 J. Emadi. J.D. P. for both military and civilian aircrafts [16]. Rivetta and G. 719-728. Hybrid. IEEE Trans. “Input admittance characteristics of permanent-magnet brushless AC motor drive systems. Khaligh. vol. stability and control of power electronic converters and motor drives”.A Rosero. Jul 2006.6 0. L. Proceedings of the IEEE. IEEE Aerospace Electr. no. In particular it is shown that an increasingly higher load can give rise to limit cycles in the state-space and eventually destroy the stability of the equilibrium point. 51. [3] P* 1 [4] 0. 992-1000 S.

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