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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. IA-17, NO. 5. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1981

A New Neutral-Point-Clamped PWM Inverter


AKIRA NABAE,
MEMBER, IEEE,

ISAO TAKAHASHI, MEMBER,

IEEE, AND

HIROFUMI AKAGI, MEMBER, IFEE

Abstract-A new neutral-point-clamped pulsewidth modulation (PWM) inverter composed of main switching devices which operate as switches for PWM and auxiliary switching devices to clamp the output terminal potential to the neutral point potential has been developed. This inverter output contains less harmonic content as compared with that of a conventional type. Two inverters are compared analytically and experimentally. In addition, a new PWM technique suitable for an ac drive system is applied to this inverter. The neutral-pointclamped PWM inverter adopting the new PWM technique shows an excellent drive system efficiency, including motor efficiency, and is appropriate for a wide-range variable-speed drive system.

INTRODUCTION UTHEN AN INVERTER is applied to an ac motor drive *Ysystem, harmonics cause losses and pulsating torques in the motor. From the energy saving viewpoint, it is necessary to develop a high efficiency motor drive system. Pulsewidth modulation (PWM) techniques have been developed for inverter circuits to reduce the magnitude of the harmonics and to allow control of the fundamental component of output voltage. Many papers have been issued on this problem (for example, [1] , [2]), but these treat mainly the PWM techniques themselves. In this paper, the authors propose a new neutral-pointclamped PWM inverter (NPC-PWM inverter), which is suitable for a high efficiency motor drive system. Its output voltage contains less harmonics than that of a conventional inverter. The principles of the NPC-PWM inverter, harmonic analysis of the output voltage, experimental results, and some considerations on the ac motor drive system are described.

Fig. 1.

The NPC-PWM inverter.

ib(SI I)

'b(S'

ib (S34)

(' S , ib

Fig. 2.

Base-drive input for NPC-PWM inverter.

51 2) are driven complementary to the main transistors (S1 , PRINCIPLES OF THE NPC-PWM INVERTER S14), respectively. With such control, each output terminal Fig. 1 shows the main circuit of the NPC-PWM inverter. potential is clamped to the neutral potential in the off-periods In Fig. 1 (0) indicates the neutral point with respect to the of the PWM control, as shown in Fig. 3(a). Fig. 3(b) shows dc source; (SII, S14), (S21, S24), (S31 S34) are main tran- the voltage waveform between output terminals U and V. The sistors operating as switches for PWM; and (S1 2, S1 3), (S22, corresponding waveforms for a conventional inverter are S23), (S32, S33) are auxiliary transistors to clamp the output shown in Fig. 4. Comparing Fig. 3 with Fig. 4, we can easily terminal potentials to the neutral point potential, together recognize the following. with (D1 1-D32). To this inverter, all conventional PWM 1) Output terminal potentials of the conventional PWM techniques can be applied. However, the authors will only inverter vary between (EdI2) and (-Edl2), but those PWM the in which the following, consider one example in of the NPC-PWM inverter vary between (+Ed12) and (0) technique to eliminate the fifth and seventh harmonics is or (-EdI2) and (0). applied to the NPC-PWM inverter. Fig. 2 shows the base2) The terminal voltage waveform of the NPC-PWM inverter drive inputs for (S 1 -S4). Auxiliary transistors (S1 3,
Paper IPCSD 81-17, approved by the Static Power Converter Committee of the IEEE Industry Applications Society for presentation at the 1980 Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, September 28-October 3. Manuscript released for publication May 20, 1981. The authors are with the Faculty of Engineering, Technological University of Nagaoka, Nagaoka 949-54, Japan.

shows less harmonic content than that of the conventional inverter.

HARMONIC ANALYSIS Fig. 5 shows the output voltage waveform between the output terminal and the neutral point of the NPC-PWM inverter, where the fifth and seventh harmonics are eliminated.

0093-0094/81/0900-05 18$00.75 1981 IEEE

NABAE et al.: PWM INVERTER

519

v. A_

olr
DD
.
_

to eliminate the fifth and seventh harmonics it is necessary

to satisfy the following equations:

4E
IT

(a)

Vv-o

(sin t1 -sin ai2 + sin ai3 ) -Em


sin 5CI1-sin 5a2 + sin 53 = 0 sin 7a1 - sin 7a2 + sin 7a3 = 0
(3)

IJLI
-

Vw-o

710

IIII

0l-0III

t'h) vJ

Vu-v

Il

1X 11

Fig. 3.

Output voltage waveform of NPC-PWM inverter.

-Vuu-o
(a)

From (3), a1, 0P2, and a3 are determined for the corresponding Em, and the maximum Em which will satisfy (3) is 1.19 E. When a PWM technique to eliminate the fifth and seventh harmonics is applied to the NPC-PWM inverter, the relations between the fundamental amplitude and the eleventh and thirteenth harmonic amplitudes have been calculated, and are shown in Fig. 6. When the same PWM technique is applied to a conventional inverter, the relations corresponding to Fig. 6 are shown in Fig. 7. Comparing Fig. 6 with Fig. 7, the eleventh and thirteenth harmonics in the former are far less than those in the latter.

EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

11-l 1n n n f
VwJUI WJIm
IIJLLJJIA
-

--*D** fL*sas

E U

(b)

vu-

I I IIf

11I

i li

Fig. 4. Output voltage waveform of conventional inverter.

110

UL

JUL

'' --'
v

Xt

1 0~~~~~~~
f-

The authors have carried out some experiments, driving a 34 200-V 2.2-kW 60-Hz squirrel-cage induction motor with the NPC-PWM inverter. The PWM technique to eliminate the fifth and seventh harmonics was adopted. Control circuits were all digital and were simplified by means of writing the calculated a patterns into programmable read only memory (PROM). The output voltage between output terminals U and V was measured by spectrum analyzer, as shown in Fig. 8. Measured results agree well with the calculated values shown in Fig. 6. Fig. 9 shows photographs of the output voltage waveform between U and V and those of the output current waveform. The output current waveform shows that it contains relatively small low-order harmonics, which cause harmonic current losses in the induction motor. Experimental results showed approximately 93 percent inverter system efficiency and a 97 percent ac input power factor at the rated motor output. Here the inverter system efficiency is defined by the following expression:

Fig. 5.

Phase voltage (fifth and seventh harnonics eliminated).

CONSIDERATIONS OF SOME PROBLEMS Another feature of this inverter will be discussed here. The imposed voltages across the main switching devices are nO cos nO cos dO dO,) + Cn-- t | (112)-Ed, i.e., half of those in a conventional inverter. Fig. 10 shows another type of neutral-point-clamped inverter, but here 4E the imposed voltages across the main switching devices are Ed, =-(sin nal -sin na2+sinna3) (1) n7r just the same as in the case of a conventional inverter. While a conventional inverter is composed of six switching where E 1/2-Ed. Expressing the fundamental component the NPC-PWM is composed of twelve switching devices, as devices. However, the output kilovoltamperes of the latter is capable of achieving double the kilovoltamperes, comel Em cos ct,
=

Expanding the waveform into a Fourier series, the sine components are zero, and the nth harmonic Fourier coefficient of the cosine components is expressed as follows: 3 4E /Ofal 3

*linv.sy

inverter output kW (ac input kW) + (control circuit input kW)

520

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY

APPLICATIONS, VOL. IA-17, NO. 5, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1981

0-,

I. 0 O
-z

O.
Fundamental

-0. a

.~ 0.:

13th

c/ , 0.

2 0.4 0.6 0.8 fundamental amplitude (max. amplitude 1.19E )

,,V \,vVV.

(a)
1.0

Fig. 6. Relation between fundamental amplitude and eleventh and thirteenth harmonic amplitudes in constant V/f control (NPCPWM inverter).

1.19E
0.8.

Fundamental

I-~~~~~~~~~It

=
0. 2

(b)

0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 fundamental amplitude

l.0

(max. amplitude 1.9E

Fig. 7. Relation between fundamental amplitude and eleventh and thirteenth harmonic amplitudes in constant V/f control (conventional inverter).

pared with that of the former, by suitable design. Table I shows a general comparison of the three inverters: the NPC type (Fig. 1), the second NPC type (Fig. 10), and a conventional type. Table I shows that the NPC inverter is the best.

Fig. 8. Harmonic spectra. (a) V = 199 V, f = 60 Hz, 25 V (rms)/div, 250 Hz/div. (b) V = 143 V, f = 40 Hz, 25 V (rms)/div, 100 Hz/div. (c) V = 108 V,f= 25 Hz, 25 V (rms)/div, 100 Hz/div.

lc)

A NEW PWM TECHNIQUE


In the preceding description, only the PWM technique for eliminating the fifth and seventh harmonics was applied to the NPC-PWM inverter. However, in order to retain a good efficiency in the lower speed range for a wide-range variablespeed drive system, it is necessary to eliminate higher harmonics than the fifth and seventh, corresponding to the output frequency ranges. The authors propose a new PWM technique to solve this problem in a relatively simple way. To eliminate not only the fifth and seventh but also the eleventh and thirteenth harmonics, it is necessary to solve the following equations and determine a1 -a5 for the corre-

sponding Em:
4E
-

(sin al -sin a2 + sina3 -sin a4 + sin as)=Em


=0

sin Sra -sin 5a2 + sin 5a3 -sin 5a4 + sin 5ca5

sin 7a1 -sin 7a2 + sin 7a


sin
l

sin 7a4 + sin 7a5

=0

la,-sin 1

la2

+ sin l la3-sin 1la4 + sin l la5

=0

sin 13a1 -sin 13a2 +sin 13a3 -sin 13a4 +sin 13as5

=0.

NABAE et al.: PWM INVERTER

521

Substituting (5) for (2), five values of ax are obtained from (4): al, a4, a5, a8, and a9. Next, a2, a3, a6, a7, a,0, and a1 1, corresponding to (6) are obtained from the following relations:
a2 = -al,
7r

18

a3

7r

18
X

+a1 , C

a6

=- + 4

Tr

18

a7

+a9. -+a5, a10 =- +as8 a11a 18


18 18

ir

7T

Two unit PWM waveforms are superposed, as shown in Fig. 11. The fundamental component el is expressed as follows: el =el I+-e12
=Em Cos (t=

1r

36

cos -

36 36

0.996 Em cos (wtt--)

The seventeenth and nineteenth harmonics are expressed as follows:


Fig. 9. Output voltage and current. (a) f = 50 Hz; upper 200 V/div, 5 ms/div; lower 20 A/div. (b) f = 25 Hz; upper 200 V/div, 10 ms/ div; lower 20 A/div.
DCL

cos17 wt+ Cos (17 cot -if)


-O1s(l
=

h18 )

0.1734 cos (17

Xt-177r )
19 1 18 /

cos 19 cot + cos (19 cot --if


Ed

F X
}

12

2D2

32

t19 \ = 07c( if / =-O.1734 cos 19 cot

(8)

144S

s3

percent as compared with those of the unit PWM waveform.

From (8), both harmonic amplitudes are reduced to 17

Fig. 10. Second type of NPC-PWM inverter.

The PWM techniques using a, -a5 is able to eliminate the harmonics lower than the thirteenth. In the same way, it is possible, theoretically, to eliminate the harmonics lower than the nineteenth, but practically, it is difficult to solve these equations in seven variables (at1 -a7) accurately. The authors propose a new PWM technique to reduce the seventeenth and nineteenth harmonics and eliminate the harmonics lower than the thirteenth. It is founded on the principle that the lower order harmonics can be eliminated by adequate phase shifting in multiple unit inverters connected in series. The same principle will be applied to the NPC-PWM inverter in the following. Let us consider two different fundamental waves:
e1=iEm cos cot

Fig. 12 shows the new PWM pattern, which is applicable to a squirrel-cage induction motor drive system with constant V/f control. In the output frequency range from a few hertz to 25 Hz, the harmonics lower than the thirteenth are eliminated and the seventeenth and nineteenth harmonics are reduced. From 25 Hz to 50 Hz, the harmonics lower than the thirteenth are eliminated, and over 50 Hz the fifth and seventh harmonics are eliminated. The PWM pattern shown in Fig. 12 is written into a 2-kbyte PROM (2716).

(5)
)

e2 =-2 Em cos

(t

(6)

CONCLUSION A new neutral-point-clamped PWM inverter was developed and investigated analytically and experimentally. The features of three inverter types are compared, and some problems are discussed. In addition, a new PWM technique suitable for an ac motor drive system is introduced. The neutral-pointclamped PWM inverter adopting this new PWM technique shows excellent drive system efficiency, including motor efficiency, and is appropriate for a wide-range variable-speed drive system.

522

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY

APPLICATIONS, VOL. IA-17, NO. 5, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

1981

TABLE I GENERAL COMPARISON OF THREE KINDS OF INVERTERS

.~~~~oqe
Output Voltage Harmonics

ytmOtu

Pulsation
less less

Torque

Drive System

Efficiency
higher

Number of Switching Device 12

Output
(kVA) unit X 2 unit unit

NPC-PWM type (Fig. 1) Second NPC-PWM type (Fig. 10) Conventional PWM type

less

less

higher ordinary

12
6

ordinary

ordinary

U2 06468O l

Fig. 11. Phase voltage (fifth, seventh, eleventh and thirteenth eliminated and seventeenth and nineteenth reduced).

fundamental amplitude

( max. amplitude

1.19E )

Fig. 12. PWM control pattern.

NABAE et aL: PWM INVERTER

523
Isao Takahashi (M'81) was born in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in 1942. He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan. He was an Assistant Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology from 1971 to 1975 and an Associate Professor at Utsunomiya University, Japan, from 1975 to 1978. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Technological University of Nagaoka, Nagaoka, Japan. His research interests are in the application of the digital control for the energy control system such as frequency changers, reactive power compensators, and power sources of the nuclear fusion reactor. Dr. Takahashi is a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan.
_ 8

REFERENCES
[1] A. Schdnung and D. Stemmler, "Static frequency changer with subharmonic control in conjunction with reversible variable drives,' Brown Boveri Rev., Aug./Sept. 1964. [2] J. B. Casteel and R. G. Hoft, "Optimum PWM waveforms of a microprocessor controlled inverter," in Conf. Rec. IEEE 1978 Power Electronics Specialists Conf., Syracuse, NY, 78CH 1337-5 AES.

~~ ~

He joined Toshiba Corporation in 1951. From 1951 to 1970 he engaged in the research and development of rectifier and inverter application techniques at Tsurumi Works Engineering Department. From 1970 to 1978 he was involved in the research and development of power electronics, especially ac drive systems, at the Heavy Apparatus Engineering Laboratory. Also, from 1972 to 1978, he was a non-occupied Lecturer of Waseda University, Japan. Since 1978, he has been a Professor at the Technological University of Nagaoka, Nagaoka, Japan. He is now interested in the energy conversion and control systems. Dr. Nabae is a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan.
. | li

Akira Nabae (M'79) was born in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, on September 13, 1924. He received the B.E. degree from Tokyo University, > ~~Tokyo, Japan, in 1947, and the Ph.D. degree from Waseda University, Japan.

Hirofumi Akagi (M'81) was born in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, on August 19, 1951. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Nagoya Institute of Technology, Nagoya, Japan, in 1974 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan, in 1976 and 1979,
Since 1979, he has been an Assistant Professor at the Technological University of Nagaoka, Nagaoka, Japan. He is engaged in research on power electronics, especially cycloconverter, inverter, and ac drive systems. Dr. Akagi is a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan.

respectively.

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