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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1750363 22.03.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001750363
Titel Mehrpegel- Wechselstrom/Gleichstromwandler für Traktionsanwendungen
Anmelder ABB Research Ltd., Zürich, CH
Erfinder Meysenc, Luc, 5405 Baden-Dättwill, CH;
Stefanutti, Philippe, 74330 Choisy, FR;
Noisette, Philippe, 01630 Sergy, FR;
Hugo, Nicolas, 1201 Genève, CH;
Akdag, Alper, 5406 Baden-Rüitihof, CH
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MC, NL, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 03.08.2005
EP-Aktenzeichen 054054622
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 07.02.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 22.03.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse H02M 7/219(2006.01)A, F, I, 20070112, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to the field of electric railway power supply systems. It departs from a multilevel AC/DC converter for converting a single-phase, line-frequency AC supply voltage of an AC supply line to a DC link voltage of a DC link in railway traction applications as described in the preamble of claim 1.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Electric railway vehicles such as locomotives or rail coaches powered by an alternating-current (AC) supply line use a traction transformer and an AC/DC converter for converting the high voltage (15 kV or 25 kV) of the supply line to a direct-current (DC) link voltage of a few kV and to ensure a galvanic isolation between the high voltage and the traction circuits. A DC link or bus at the DC link voltage feeds the drive or motor converters for traction or propulsion of the vehicle, as well as auxiliary converters for auxiliary energy supply. Hereby, the DC link voltage does not exceed the rating of the semiconductor devices in the motor or auxiliary converters. In modern railway vehicle concepts, the traction transformer is usually placed outside the main casing of the vehicle, i.e. under floor or on the rooftop. Under these circumstances however, a conventional transformer with a nominal frequency of 16.7 Hz or 50 Hz causes integration problems due to its high weight and large volume.

Alternative power supply systems therefore aim at replacing the aforementioned conventional transformer by additional converters based on semiconductor technology in combination with a smaller and lighter transformer operating at a higher frequency. At the expense of switching losses in the semiconductor devices, the mass and volume of the transformer as well as the total, i.e. copper and magnetic, losses in the transformer can thus be reduced, resulting in a more efficient use of the electrical power from the supply line.

In the patent application EP-A 1 226 994 , a medium frequency power supply system for rail vehicles is presented, including a classical converter topology for the bidirectional conversion of a high input AC voltage to a DC output voltage. The system comprises a primary converter composed of at least three cascaded converter modules or sections electrically connected in series, one single common transformer and a single secondary converter. Each cascade module in turn is formed by a four-quadrant converter, a 3.6 kV DC intermediate stage and a resonant converter. The latter comprises a half bridge with two circuit elements each having a transistor and a free-wheeling diode, as well as a series resonance capacitor. Together with the corresponding primary leakage inductance coil of the transformer, the series resonance capacitor forms an oscillating circuit having a resonance frequency higher than the transformer nominal frequency.

The secondary or output converter is a resonant switched four-quadrant converter feeding the vehicle's 1.65 kV DC link. All switching elements are advanced 6.5 kV Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) with an adapted gate driver technology. The medium-frequency (MF) transformer has a ferrite core and a nominal frequency of 5 kHz, which is considered to be the optimum compromise between the volume and weight of the transformer and the switching losses of the semiconductor switches. The provision of only one transformer and only one secondary converter is expected to save not only costs but also weight, but obviously impairs the availability of the power supply system.

Instead of passing through a DC intermediate energy storage stage, conversion from one frequency to another can be achieved directly from an AC input to an AC output by a direct AC frequency converter, also known as a cycloconverter. By way of example, DE 2614445 discloses a rectifier converting low frequency AC voltage into DC voltage via a transformer operating at medium/high frequencies that comprises, on the AC side of the transformer, an externally controlled, single-phase bridge cycloconverter. The latter comprises a single conversion stage between the low frequency of the supply line and the medium/high frequency of the transformer, and thus presents fewer power conversion stages and no crowbar circuit as compared to the abovementioned cascade modules including an intermediate DC stage. Furthermore, the cycloconverter operates with natural commutations. On the other hand, a voltage source converter (VSC) on the DC side of the transformer operates with hard switching off, resulting in comparatively high stresses on the semiconductor devices of the current valves and high switching losses.

In the article by Staffan Norrga, "An Experimental Study of a Soft-switched Isolated AC/DC Converter without Auxiliary Circuit", 35th Annual IEEE Power Electronics Specialists Conference, Aachen, Germany, 2004, pages 2406-2412 , a single-level, single-phase AC/DC converter for bidirectional power flow is presented. The converter topology incorporates a single-phase cycloconverter coupled by a medium frequency (MF) transformer to a voltage source converter (VSC). The VSC has so-called snubber capacitors connected in parallel to each of the semiconductor valves, providing a sufficient capacity to allow for zero-voltage turn-off of said valves and reducing the voltage derivatives when the valves are switched. On the other hand, the VSC has no additional or auxiliary semiconductor devices that do not take part in the power conversion itself and merely add to the costs and complexity of the converter. Following the commutation algorithm proposed, this topology allows to obtain soft switching of the semiconductor valves in the VSC-converter in all points of operation. A prototype converter system has been realised with a DC link voltage of 600 V and a ferrite core toroidal MF transformer operating at 6 kHz. The bidirectional valves of the cycloconverter are made up of two single, individually controlled, standard 1200 V IGBT switches in common-emitter connection.

The article " High-Frequency Link DC/AC Converter with Suppressed Voltage Clamp Circuits - Naturally Commutated Phase Angle Control with Self Turn-Off Devices" by Mikihiko Matsui et al., IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., Vol. 32, No. 2, 1996, pages 293-300 , proposes an alternative control for a cycloconverter-type, three-phase output, high frequency (HF) link DC/AC converter for e.g. uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. The converter has two power conversion stages, i.e. the inverter stage for DC to HF (16 kHz) and the cycloconverter stage for HF to the low or commercial frequency of the AC power line. Because of the use of self turn-off devices (bidirectional transistors and fast recovery diodes), the proposed control approach requires modified control pulse timing and adopts only phase angle control based on natural commutation for the cycloconverter stage. As the magnetic energy stored in the leakage inductances of the HF transformer at the moment of switching is released and feedback to the DC voltage source, there is no need for additional surge suppressing circuits (snubber circuit or active voltage clamp circuit) on the cycloconverter side of the transformer for absorbing said magnetic energy.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an objective of the invention to increase the availability of the aforementioned power supply system for railway traction applications without unduly increasing its weight. This objective is achieved by a multilevel AC/DC converter with frequency conversion according to claim 1 and a method of converting an AC supply voltage to a DC link voltage according to claim 8. Further preferred embodiments are evident from the dependent patent claims.

According to the invention, in a power supply system with a multilevel AC/DC converter comprising a plurality of series-connected primary converters connectable to an AC supply line and a traction transformer operable at a transformer nominal frequency above an AC line frequency, more than one parallel-connected secondary converter connectable to a DC link are provided. In case of failure of one of the secondary converters, the multilevel AC/DC converter may thus continue to operate with reduced power delivered by the remaining secondary converters. In order to compensate for the increase in weight on the secondary side, single-stage cycloconverters or direct AC frequency converters are used as primary converters. The reduced number of power conversion stages and/or components of the cycloconverter as compared to a classical converter topology including an intermediate DC stage furthermore reduce the complexity of the control sequences as well as the overall weight, volume and losses of the converter.

In an advantageous variant of the invention, the nominal transformer frequency of the traction transformer is chosen to be below 3 kHz and preferably less than 1 kHz, which allows to use known low frequency transformer technology including sheathed iron cores instead of ferrite cores as used in medium/high frequency transformers. In other words, the proven and cheap transformer technology shifts the optimum balance between increasing magnetic or hysteretic losses in the transformer core and decreasing volume to lower transformer frequencies.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the secondary converters are deprived of additional snubber capacitors arranged in parallel to the semiconductor switches. Accordingly, hard switching off takes place when opening the semiconductor switches of the secondary converters. A number of components can thus be saved, the secondary converters becoming less sophisticated and more robust.

In an advantageous embodiment, a plurality of secondary converters equal in number to the primary converters is provided. Each converter level of the multilevel AC/DC converter thus comprises a primary converter and a dedicated secondary converter that are connected to concentrical primary and secondary windings of the traction transformer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter of the invention will be explained in more detail in the following text with reference to preferred exemplary embodiments which are illustrated in the attached drawings, in which:

  • Fig.1 schematically depicts the proposed multilevel converter topology; and
  • Fig.2 schematically shows details of a single AC/DC converter level.

The reference symbols used in the drawings, and their meanings, are listed in summary form in the list of reference symbols. In principle, identical parts are provided with the same reference symbols in the figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Fig.1 depicts the proposed multilevel converter topology according to the invention. A pantograph frame of a current collector 10 is in contact with an overhead supply line 11 of a railway catenary system. The current collector is connected, via a line impedance filter 12, to a first primary converter 20. The latter is connected in series with a second primary converter 20' and further primary converters, wherein the last primary converter 20" is connected, via a wheel 13, to a rail. Each primary converter 20, 20', 20" is further connected to a primary winding 210, 210', 210" of a traction transformer 21. Secondary windings 211, 211', 211" of the traction transformer 21 are connected to secondary converters 22, 22', 22". Each primary converter 20, 20', 20" and the corresponding transformer windings 210, 211; 210', 211'; 210", 211" and secondary converter 22, 22', 22" form a single AC/DC converter level. All secondary converters 22, 22', 22" are electrically connected in parallel with each other and with a DC link 23.

Fig.2 shows the details of a single AC/DC converter level. The primary converter 20 is a single-phase cycloconverter with four bidirectional semiconductor valves 200 arranged in an H-bridge. Each valve 200 consists of two anti-parallel arranged synthetic thyristors composed each of an insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) 201, 201' and a diode 202, 202' connected in series, wherein the emitter of one IGBT 201 and the emitter of the other IGBT 201' are connected together. Obviously, the bidirectional valve could be realised with other power semiconductor elements, such as a fast bipolar controlled thyristor (BCT) or an integrated gate commutated transistor (IGCT). Over-voltage protection of the components of the cycloconverter is generally achieved by adding non-linear components such as varistor 203 in parallel to the input of each converter level. Likewise, a protective snubber circuit such as resistor-capacitor circuit 204 in parallel to the input of each converter level prevents the voltage from rising too rapidly across the power semiconductor devices. Furthermore, means for active voltage clamping on each IGBT gate driver of the cycloconverter may be provided (not depicted in Fig.2).

The transformer 21 insures galvanic insulation between the supply line voltage and the DC link. In operation, the primary converter 20 converts a fraction UAC of the supply line AC voltage to a square wave voltage at a nominal transformer frequency fTR that is fed to the transformer. The transformer is preferably made of conventional material used in low frequency traction transformers, i.e. conventional magnetic sheets are stacked to build the transformer core. The core and the windings are immersed in a cooling and/or insulating liquid contained in a containment vessel that in turn may be attached underneath the floor or on the rooftop of the vehicle casing. Due to the conventional transformer design, the nominal transformer frequency fTR is below 3 kHz and preferably around 400 Hz, and thus distinctly higher than the AC line frequency.

The transformer ratio NTR may be equal to one, such that the DC link voltage UDC is approximately equal to the effective value of the voltage UAC applied to a single converter level. On the other hand, if e.g. in order to reduce the number of levels the primary converter 20 uses semiconductor devices with a higher voltage rating than the semiconductor devices used in the secondary converter 22, a transformer ratio NTR above one, and preferably below five, adjusts the voltage UAC to the DC link voltage UDC.

The secondary converter 22 is a voltage source converter and comprises a conventional H-Bridge with two phase-legs and four unidirectional valves 220 allowing 4-quadrant operation. The valves 220 consist of an IGBT and a free-wheeling diode connected in anti-parallel. In order to reduce the number of components, the IGBTs are hard switched off, i.e. no snubber capacitors are provided in parallel to the IGBTs for enabling soft commutation. Preferable control schemes for this purpose, which reduce the voltage spikes across the semiconductor devices by suitably releasing the magnetic energy stored in the leakage inductances of the transformer, are known e.g. from the article by Mikihiko Matsui et al cited above.

The number of converter levels to be used in a traction vehicle depends on the AC line voltage. For instance, for a line voltage of 15 kV, a total of 16 levels provide a sufficient security margin for the single-level voltage UAC to which the semiconductor devices in the individual levels are exposed. In case of failure of one of the 16 levels, the remaining 15 levels thus allow the AC/DC converter to continue operation at about 15/16 of the original power. An extension to a line voltage of 25 kV is feasible, although adaptations to the converter topology may be necessary to avoid insulation problems at the peak line voltages beyond 30 kV. Likewise, DC supply voltages of e.g. 3 kV may be achieved.

The foregoing specification has been based on a power flow from the AC supply line to the DC link. However, the AC/DC converter is able to handle power flow in both directions, thus the notion of primary/secondary converters or windings is not to be seen as absolute. Finally, the transformer windings 210, 211; 210', 211'; 210", 211" of the different converter levels can be arranged on a common core, on different but magnetically coupled core sections, or on individual, magnetically decoupled cores.

LIST OF DESIGNATIOINS

10
current collector
11
supply line
12
line filter
13
wheel
20, 20', 20"
primary converter
21
traction transformer
210, 210', 210"
primary winding
211, 211', 211"
secondary winding
22, 22', 22"
secondary converter
23
DC link
200
bidirectional valve
201, 201'
IGBT
202, 202'
diode
203
varistor
204
protective snubber circuit
220
unidirectional valve


Anspruch[en]
A multilevel AC/DC converter for converting a single-phase, line-frequency AC supply voltage of an AC supply line (11) to a DC link voltage (UDC) of a DC link (23) in railway traction applications, comprising - a traction transformer (21) for establishing a galvanic isolation between the AC supply line (11) and the DC link (23), wherein the traction transformer (21) is operable at a transformer nominal frequency (fTR) above the AC line frequency, - multiple primary converters (20, 20', 20") connectable to the AC supply line (11), wherein inputs of the primary converters (20, 20', 20") are connected in series and wherein an output of each primary converter (20, 20', 20") is connected to a primary winding (210, 210', 210") of the traction transformer (21), and - a secondary converter (22, 22', 22") connectable to the DC link (23), wherein an input of the secondary converter (22, 22', 22") is connected to a secondary winding (211, 211', 211") of the traction transformer (21), characterized in that the multilevel AC/DC converter comprises at least two secondary converters (22, 22', 22"), wherein outputs of the at least two secondary converters (22, 22', 22") are connected in parallel, and in that the primary converters (20, 20', 20") are cycloconverters. The converter according to claim 1, characterized in that the traction transformer (21) is a low frequency transformer. The converter according to claim 2, characterized in that the nominal frequency of the traction transformer (fTR) is less than 3 kHz and preferably less than 1 kHz. The converter according to claim 1, characterized in that no snubber capacitors are connected in parallel to the semiconductor switches of the at least two secondary converters (22, 22', 22"). The converter according to claim 1, characterized in that a secondary winding (211, 211', 211") of the traction transformer (21) is arranged concentrically to each primary winding (210, 210', 210") of the traction transformer (21) and connected to an input of a dedicated one of the at least two secondary converters (22, 22', 22"). The converter according to claim 5, characterized in that each primary winding (210, 210', 210") and the concentrically arranged secondary winding (211, 211', 211") of the traction transformer (21) have at least approximately the same number of turns. The converter according to claim 1, characterized in that means for over-voltage protection 203 and/or means for voltage-rise protection 204 of each primary converter (20, 20', 20") are arranged between the inputs of the primary converter. A method of converting a single-phase, line-frequency AC supply voltage of an AC supply line (11) to a DC link voltage (UDC) of a DC link (23) in railway traction applications by means of a multilevel AC/DC converter, comprising, - establishing a galvanic isolation between the AC supply line (11) and the DC link (23) by means of a traction transformer (21) operable at a transformer nominal frequency (fTR) above the AC line frequency, - connecting multiple primary converters (20, 20', 20") to the AC supply line (11), wherein inputs of the primary converters (20, 20', 20") are connected in series and wherein an output of each primary converter (20, 20', 20") is connected to a primary winding (210, 210', 210") of the traction transformer (21), and - connecting a secondary converter (22, 22', 22") to the DC link (23), wherein an input of the secondary converter (22, 22', 22") is connected to a secondary winding (211, 211', 211") of the traction transformer (21), characterized in that the method comprises connecting in parallel outputs of at least two secondary converters (22, 22', 22"), and in that the primary converters (20, 20', 20") are cycloconverters. The method according to claim 8, characterized in that the traction transformer is operated at a frequency of less than 3 kHz and preferably less than 1 kHz. The method according to claim 8, characterized in that the semiconductor switches of the at least two secondary converters are operated in hard switching off and natural switching on.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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