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Minimization of Harmonics in Multi-Level Inverters Using

Bat Algorithm

Akash Tyagi Asif Iqbal

Electrical Engineering Division, Piro Technologies Computer Science Division, Piro Technologies, Private
Limited, New Delhi, India Private Limited, New Delhi, India
akashtyagi0010@gmail.com asif.iqbal256003@gmail.com

are basically three categories in which MLI is divided:

Abstract- Minimization of harmonics in Cascade multi-level Diode-clamped, cascade H-bridge multilevel inverters, and
inverters is a complex optimization problem. These involve a flying capacitors. Amongst the above, cascade multilevel has
large number of nonlinear transcendental equations having the highest power, high reliability, and high voltage levels
multiple minima. A solution to the harmonic minimization
problem using Bat Algorithm is presented in this paper. When
due to its modular structure [2]. This MLI is based on series
the number of switching angles is increased, it is not possible to connected single phase H-bridge inverter, each with their
determine them with the help of a conventional iterative own isolated bus to get a sinusoidal voltage output [3]. In
technique or resultant theory method. But the proposed high AC power supplies and high-speed drive applications,
algorithm is able to find the optimal values of the switching these MLI are very popular.
angles when their number is increased. Simulations are done for
an 11-level H-bridge inverter and results are compared with the Comparing to the square wave inverter, the output voltage of
theoretical results. Results show that the proposed method MLI is in a stepped form resulting in reduced harmonics [1].
effectively minimizes a large number of specific harmonics, and There are several well-known topologies of MLI to further
the output voltage results in very low total harmonic distortion
reduce the harmonics in MLI.
and switching frequency.
1. Sinusoidal Pulse Width Modulation (SPWM)
Keywords­  Multilevel   inverters   (MLI),   Selective   Harmonic
2. Optimized Harmonic Stepped-Waveform Technique
Elimination­Pulse   Width   Modulation   (SHE­PWM),   Harmonics, (OHSW)
Bat Algorithm (BA), Particle Swam optimization (PSO) 3. Selective Harmonics Eliminated Pulse Width
Modulation (SHE-PWM)
From the techniques discussed above, the optimized
In the field of distributed energy resource, several batteries, harmonic stepped-waveform is best suited for MLI
fuel cells, solar cells, and microturbines can be connected to topologies. A low THD output waveform and switching
multi-level inverters without the voltage balancing problems, devices with only one switch per cycle can be obtained with
due to which they are drawing much attention in the last few the implementation of this technique along with the multi-
years [1]. MLI is accepted worldwide because of the ability level topology. The problem of switching loss, as well as
to reduce the harmonics of the AC Voltage waveforms, high- EMI, is also improved. Distortion in the electrical power
voltage capability and operate efficiently. These H-bridge system is called harmonics. The harmonic current and
MLI incorporate the desired output voltage from several reactive power from the AC source affects the quality of the
levels of DC voltage as input. An approximately sinusoidal power. Non-linear loads are the main reason for harmonics,
output voltage waveform can be obtained from several levels as they draw the non-sinusoidal current from a sinusoidal
of DC voltage. voltage. The well-known loads responsible for producing
harmonics are static-VAR compensators, Inverters, Switch-
The step-wise output of the MLI is a major advantage and
mode power supply, and electric arc furnace. These loads
this results in better electromagnetic compatibility, lower
produce harmonics currents which are injected back into the
switching losses, higher power quality, higher voltage
supply systems and can interact adversely with the equipment
capability, and no need of the transformer at distribution
of the power system such as transformers, capacitors, energy,
voltage level, thereby reducing the cost of the system. There
motor and demand metering causing additional losses (S-1) switching angles are used to eliminate most noticeable
overheating an overloading. These can also cause lower order harmonics. The magnitude of the output phase
interference with telecommunication lines, and affect the voltage is:
normal working of computers, controllers, telephone system,
and sophisticated electronic equipment such as relays V1+V2+V3 (2)
resulting in false operation [4]. The most important aspect of
these inverters is the harmonic content. Because of the
staircase waveform of MLI, the harmonic content is lesser in
these inverters [2].

In many applications of MLI, the THD output voltage of the

inverter is a measurement of the harmonic distortion, which
should be very low. THD is defined as the Summation of all
harmonic component of the voltage or current waveform
compared against the fundamental component of the voltage
or current wave [5]:

∑ Vn
Fig.1 H-Bridge
n=3,5,7. .


The three-level inverter is the basic of MLI and has drawn

the tremendous interest in the industry of the power system.
Compared to the simple inverters, MLI produces the high
voltage and high power. Cascade MLI is the most important
topology among the family of MLI. The components required
in the MLI are less as compared to the other two topologies.
It has a modular structure and simple switching strategy,
require less space [7].

A series of single-phase full-bridge inverter units forms a

cascade MLI as shown in fig-1. The key function of the MLI Fig-2 Output Voltage of 7-Level Cascade Inverter
is to produce the desired voltage from SDCS (separate DC's
source) connected to every single phase full bridge inverter By applying the Fourier series analysis for a cascade MLI
and can generate three different outputs, +Vdc, 0, -Vdc. The with ‘S’ switching angles, the amplitude of any odd nth
AC output voltage of every single phase full bridge is harmonic can be expressed as:
connected in series such that output voltage waveform is the
sum of all the individual H-Bridge Output [8]. By connecting k
the required number of H-Bridge in cascade and using proper n α¿
modulation technique, closely sinusoidal output voltage cos ( n α 1 ) +..+cos ⁡¿ [ sin(nωt ) ]
waveform can be synthesized. The number of levels in the
output voltage waveform is 2S+1, where ‘S’ is the number of Van (wt) = 4 Vdc (3)
H-bridges. For e.g.- the AC output phase voltage waveform nπ
of a seven level MLI using two H-Bridges is shown in fig-2. ∞
In a seven level multi inverter there are three switching ∑ ¿
angles and three non-linear transcendental equations. From n=1,3,5
‘S’ number of switching angles only one switching angle is
used to calculate the fundamental voltage and the remaining
Where ‘n’ is an odd harmonic order, and switching angles are V1
considered equal to the number of dc sources and α k is
4 Vdc
the kth switching angle. The amplitude of the entire even
harmonic is zero. The switching angles should be in the range
( (
π ))
of 0 to 90 considering 5th and 7th order output phase voltage (6)
to zero. For a seven-level cascade MLI, the fundamental
voltage in terms of switching angles is given: The seven level cascades MLI require two H-bridge. To
obtain the required switching angles and the desired
4 Vdc fundamental voltage nonlinear switching equations are used
V1 =

[ cos ( nα 1 ) +cos ( nα 2 ) +cos ⁡(nα 3)] as given below:
Cos ( α 1 ) + Cos ( α 2 ¿ cos ( α 3 )=3 M

Cos ( 5 α 1 ) + Cos (5 α 2 ¿+cos (5 α 3 )=0

Cos ( 7 α 1 ) +Cos (7 α 2 ¿+cos (7 α 3 )=0


These are the non-linear transcendental equations for

elimination the 5th and the 7th order harmonics and get the
desired fundamental voltage. For the given values of m (from
0 to 1), it is required to get complete and all possible
solutions of these equations for determining the switching
angles and lower THD.



The key role of the modulation strategy used in MLI is to

synthesize the output voltage as close as possible to the
sinusoidal waveform. To obtain the sinusoidal waveform
from several levels of dc inputs, semiconductors devices
must be switched on and off in a manner that a stepped
output voltage waveform is obtained with fewer harmonics
and losses. To reduce the switching loss and harmonics,
various modulation techniques have been implemented and
are classified according to switching frequency, as shown in
Fig-3 Seven Level Cascade Inverter
The modulation index ‘M’ is defined as the ratio of the MLI Modulation
fundamental voltage (V1) to the maximum obtainable
fundamental voltage (V1max) [12]. The maximum
fundamental voltage is obtained when all the switching
angles are zero and V1max is given as:

V1max = 3* ( 4 Vdc
π )
High Switching

Then the modulation index is given as:

Space Selective Space Sinusoidal SHE

Vector Harmonic Vector PWM PWM
Control Elimination PWM
2. v i at position
Bats fly randomly with velocity
xi f
with a fixed frequency min , varying
Fig-4 Classification of Modulation Techniques
wavelength and loudness A o to search for prey.
Low switching modulation techniques are used in high power They can automatically adjust the wavelength (or
applications to keep the losses below the acceptable values. frequency) of their emitted pulse and adjust the rate
During one complete cycle of the output voltage, these of pulse emission r in the range of [0, 1], depending
methods perform one or two commutations of the on the proximity of the target.
semiconductor devices, generating the staircase waveform. 3. Although the loudness can vary in many ways, we
Space vector and selective harmonic elimination are the assume that loudness varies from a large (positive)
representatives of this family, thus resulting in better output A o to minimum constant value A min .
waveform and less complexity [9]. In these strategies, firing
angles are selected in such a way that the THD is minimum In general the frequency f in a range [ f min , f max ]
in the output voltage waveform.
corresponds to a range of wavelengths from minimum to
High switching frequency methods have many commutations maximum value. Furthermore, we do not necessarily have to
for the power semiconductor devices during one cycle of the use the wavelengths themselves; instead, we can also vary
fundamental output voltage. A very popular method in the the frequency while fixing the wavelength λ. This is because
industrial application is the carrier-based sinusoidal pulse λ and f are related due to the fact λf is constant. We will use
width modulation (SPWM) that uses the phase-shifting this later approach in our implementation. For simplicity, we
technique to reduce the harmonics in the output voltage. can assume f ∈ [0, f max ]. We know that higher
Another method is the space vector control strategy, which frequencies have short wavelengths and travel a shorter
has been used in three-level inverters. distance. For bats, the typical ranges are a few meters. The
rate of pulse can simply be in the range of [0, 1] where 0
IV. TECHNIQUE TO BE IMPLEMENTED means no pulses at all, and 1 means the maximum rate of
pulse emission. Based on these approximations and
BAT ALGORITHM idealization, the basic steps of the Bat Algorithm (BA) can be
summarized. In algorithm we have define the rules for the
The most powerful algorithms for optimization problems are
updating the positions z i and velocities v i in the
the nature-inspired algorithm and based on the echolocation
behavior of bats a new nature-inspired metaheuristic search space. The new solutions i.e. position and velocity is
algorithm called BAT algorithm has been proposed by Yang given by:
2010 [7] [8] [9].
f i = f min + ( f max−f min ) α
Bats are the only mammals in the world that have wings and (8)
high echolocation capability. Practically, a sound signal is
radiated by bats called sonar/echolocation to detect the v i = v i + ( z i−z o ) f i
objects surrounding them and find their way in night. The (9)
sound emitted by bats is very loud and they can be also to
listen to the echo that bounces back from the surrounding z ti = f i + v i
objects. Microbats also use short frequency modulated
signals in most of the cases and due to such echolocation
behavior, they can be formulated in such a way that it can be
associated with the objective function to be optimized and Z new = Z old + A t µ
thus can form a new optimization algorithm. (11)

Developing bat algorithm needs some idealization of the A. THE PSEUDO CODE OF THE BAT ALGORITHM IS AS
echolocation characteristics and for simplicity, we are FOLLOWS:
considering the following rules:
The main steps of proposed BA are as follows-
1. Echolocation is used by all the bats to sense the
distance and they also know the difference between
food and background barriers.
Step 1: Initialize the bat population or their position zi
and their velocities v i . Define pulse frequency fi at
z i . Initialize pulse rate r and loudness A.
Step 2: Generate new solutions by adjusting frequency, and
updating velocities and locations (equation 7 to equation 10).

Step 3: if (rand > r)

Select a solution among the best solutions. Generate a local
solution around the selected best solution.

Step 4: Else generate a new solution by flying randomly.

Step 5: If (rand < A && f ( z i ) < f ( z 0 )

Where f (.) = Objective function
Accept the new solutions, increase r and reduce A. Fig 5. FFT Analysis of line to line voltage

Step 6: Rank the bats and find the current best z0 .

Steps 7: while (iteration < Max number of iterations)
Post process results and visualization. The algorithm stops
with the total-best solution.


In [main ref paper] the PSO algorithm is successfully applied

to calculate the optimum switching angles in multilevel
inverters. However, by increasing the number of switching
angle. The algorithm traps in the local minima of the search

The algorithm described in this paper is simulated in

MATLAB/SIMULINK software for an 11-level Cascade H-
Bridge inverter. The voltage dc link for each H-bridge units is Fig 6. Number of switching angles Vs value of switching
considered to be 100V and simulation is done for k=3 and angles
s=5 and M=1.
The output results obtained from bat algorithm is compared
The FFT analysis for line-line voltage and values of with the results in paper [main ref paper]. The parameters
switching angles is shown in fig 5 and 6. used in the implementation of BAT algorithm is given in
Table 1.

The comparison graph for the BAT and MPSO is shown in

Fig 7.
θ1 3 2.46 8.35
θ1 4 39.62 33.99
θ1 5 31.69 45.07

Table 3. Comparison of percentage of THD


2.91 3.30


In this paper it has been concluded that employing BAT for

the minimization of harmonics can achieve great heights. As
Fig 7. Comparison of Switching Angles modifies species based particle swarm optimization has given
the best results as compared to other optimization techniques
Table 1. Parameters used in BAT algorithm but by employing BAT algorithm all the aspects of MPSO
can be covered as well as harmonic calculation at location to
PARAMETERS VALUES location could be done at lower level. All feasible solutions
Qmin 0 are closed to average values and hence algorithm is robust
Qmax 2 and has fast convergence as compare to other methods.
Population 10
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