Project Description

At the Advanced Motors, Power Electronics, and Renewable Energy (AMPERE) laboratory, we would like to test the prototype Modular Multilevel Converter (MMC) for utility-scale Photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. The power rating of converters is 5 kW and they will be tested for MW-level PV energy system. A low switching frequency operation in power converters is an important requirement at MW capacity to minimize switching losses and to allow proper heat dissipation. During such operations, classic digital controls exhibit sluggish dynamic performance and large steady-state errors. The objective for this project is to design Model Predictive Control (MPC) for MMC to overcome the challenges with the classical control. The MMC and MPC should be verified through simulation and experimental tests during transient, steady-state, and grid voltage dip conditions. Since the central PV inverter is responsible for interfacing a large area of the PV plant, the effect of partial shading becomes more relevant. To solve this issue, the capstone team must design energy storage for MMC, so that the power fluctuations due to global maximum power point (MPP) search are compensated by the stored energy. The major challenge with the MMC + energy storage is control of power flow between the converter and energy storage. The team should work on power balancing algorithms to solve this problem. The MMC is already built by last year’s students and it needs to be tested with the PV emulator and battery energy storage. The converter requires modifications as per the type of test conducted. The converter will be controlled by MATLAB models running in real-time through dSPACE DS1103 rapid prototyping platform.


Abdulaziz Jaber Ibrahim


Abdullah Alqahtani


Faisal W Alhees