This paper presents a new voltage estimation method for the submodule (SM) capacitor in a modular multilevel converter (MMC). The proposed method employs a Kalman filter (KF) algorithm to estimate the SM voltages of the converter. Compared with sensor-based methods, this scheme requires only one voltage sensor to achieve the voltage-balancing of the converter. This sensor is connected to the total arm voltage; the proposed algorithm requires also the switching patterns of each upper SM switch which are provided by the controller used without the need for extra sensors. The substantial reduction in the number of voltage sensors improves the system reliability and decreases its cost and complexity. Extensive simulation and experimental analyses carried out to validate the proposed estimation scheme under different conditions include steady-state analyses, the effect of variations in capacitance and inductance, of the impact of low carrier and effective switching frequency on the accuracy of the estimation, step changes to the load, and a range changes in DC voltage. The results obtained are experimentally verified using a single-phase MMC.
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- Modular multilevel converter (MMC)
- capacitor voltage estimation
- Kalman filter (KF)
- reduced number of sensors
- voltage-balancing control
- pulse width modulation (PWM)