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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been

fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/TPEL.2015.2434839, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics

Flying-Capacitor Based Hybrid LLC Converters with


Input Voltage Auto-Balance Ability for High Voltage
Applications
Wuhua Li, Qingjing Luo, Ye Mei, Sheng Zong, Xiangning He, Fellow IEEE, and Changliang Xia, Senior Member IEEE

 input voltage variation [9]-[11]. However, in the high voltage


Abstract –An advanced hybrid LLC series resonant converter applications, such as the secondary conversion stage following
with integrated flying-capacitor cell is proposed in this paper to a three-phase 380V AC/DC converter, where the DC bus
enable the high step-down conversion in the high input voltage voltage is approximately 600V-800V, the primary switches of
applications. The inherent flying-capacitor branch in the primary
the conventional half-bridge LLC (HB LLC) converter, as
side can effectively halve the primary switch voltage stress
compared with the half-bridge LLC converters. And the input shown in Fig. 1 (a), suffer from relatively high voltage stresses.
voltage can be shared equally and automatically between the two In this case, high-voltage IGBTs are required. However,
series half-bridge modules without additional balance circuit or compared with MOSFETs, the switching frequency of IGBTs
control strategies due to the built-in flying-capacitor cell. is limited. As a result, the high power density requirement
Moreover, the inherent soft switching performance during wide cannot be fulfilled.
load range that exists in the LLC converters is still kept to reduce In order to solve this problem, the input-series-
the switching losses, which ensures the high efficiency. Besides, output-parallel technique provides a selectable solution to
the proposed converter can be extended to further decrease the sustain the high input voltage and large output current
switch voltage stress by employing stacked connection. Finally, a
requirements [12]-[14]. However, how to balance the voltage
500V~640V -input 48V -output 1kW prototype is built and tested
to verify the effectiveness of the proposed converter. The results and current during each converter module is a big concern.
prove that the proposed converter is an excellent candidate for the Generally, additional control loop is required, which increases
high input voltage and high step-down DC/DC conversion the control complexity and impacts the system response.
systems. Three-level LLC series resonant converters are another
optimized solution to reduce the high voltage stress on the
Index Terms – Hybrid LLC converter, flying capacitor, voltage primary switches [15]-[19]. By employing the three-level
auto-balance. configuration in the primary side, the voltage stress across each
power switch is effectively clamped to only half of the input
voltage. At the same time, the advantages of the conventional
I. INTRODUCTION HB LLC series resonant converters, such as the soft switching
High voltage DC/DC converters have been widely performance, remain unchanged. However, the converter
employed in the three-phase communication power supply proposed in [15] can clamp the switch voltage stress in the
systems, DC transmission for large offshore wind farm and DC leading leg to half of the input voltage, but that in the lagging
distribution as the interface between the DC transmission and leg still suffers from the high input voltage. The three-level
distribution system or energy storage components [1]-[4]. LLC converter in [16] just employs one resonant tank, but
However, high input voltage and high step-down DC/DC additional diodes are required. Furthermore, the asymmetrical
converters are still challenging in the power electronics turn-off gate signals for the power switches make the
community due to the technological limitations of modulation a little complex. The half-bridge based three-level
semiconductors with high blocking voltage. LLC converter with asymmetrical turn-off gate signals in [16]
Apart from the pulse-width modulation (PWM) converters, is extended to full-bridge based three-level LLC converter for
such as the phase-shifted converters [5]-[8], LLC series high power and wide input voltage application in [17].
resonant converters are the popular candidates because they can Moreover, three-level resonant converter with double LLC
achieve soft switching performance for all power devices from resonant tanks is proposed for high input voltage applications
light to full loads. By adjusting the switching frequency, the [18]. In this converter, two resonant inductors and the
controlled constant output voltage can be achieved with a wide transformer with multiple windings are necessary, which
makes the topology a little complex. And the potential voltage
Manuscript received October 21, 2014; revised March 19, 2015. This work unbalance may occur due to the mismatch of the resonance
is sponsored by the National Nature Science Foundations of China capacitors and transformer windings [19].
(51361130150, 51277195). Apart from the above-mentioned three-level configurations
Copyright © 2015 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted.
that have been applied to LLC converters, the three-level
However, permission to use this material for any other purposes must be
obtained from the IEEE by sending a request to pubs-permissions@ieee.org. flying-capacitor circuit, shown in Fig. 1(b), is another simple
Wuhua Li, Qingjing Luo, Ye Mei, Sheng Zong and Xiangning He are with but effective solution for high voltage converter applications.
the College of Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, By adapting the three-level flying-capacitor structure, the
China (e-mail: woohualee@zju.edu.cn). voltage stress of all the switches is effectively clamped to half
Changliang Xia is with the School of Electrical Engineering and of the high bus voltage [20]-[22]. However, the voltage
Automation, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China (motor@tju.edu.cn).

0885-8993 (c) 2015 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See
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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/TPEL.2015.2434839, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics

unbalance, switching losses and output voltage regulation are imbalance is inherently reduced compared with the
the main issues associated with three-level flying-capacitor two-resonant-tank LLC converters. Final, the proposed
circuit [23]-[25]. structure can be extended to employ more input capacitors, in
S1 Cs1
Vout
which way the voltage across each input capacitor and can be
Vin Cin Cr further decreased compared with the previous proposed
Do1
Co Ro
converter.
Cs2 n1 n2
S2 This paper is organized as follows. The proposed converter
n2
LLr and its operational principle are demonstrated in section II. The
Do2
circuit performance analysis is introduced in section III. A
(a) design example is given in section IV and its experimental
S1 results are shown in section V, which confirm the converter
C1 performance. A topology extension is discussed in section VI,
VC1
Css
S2 while the last section summarizes the conclusions drawn from
the investigation.
S3 iout
C2
VC2
S4
II. PROPOSED CONVERTER AND ITS OPERATIONAL PRINCIPLE
As shown in Fig. 1(d), the proposed hybrid LLC converter
(b) consists of two half-bridge modules connected in series, and a
S1
Vout
flying capacitor is utilized to achieve the voltage balance
Cs1
between the two input capacitors. An LLC series resonant tank
C1 S2 Lr Do1
Vin Cs2
is connected across one switch, resulting in a square wave tank,
Lm n1 n2 Co Ro
whose amplitude is half of the high input voltage. A full-wave
S3 Cr n2
C2 Css diode rectifier is employed as an example in the secondary side.
Cs3
Do2 Vgs1 ,Vgs 3
Vgs1 ,Vgs 3
S4
Cs4 Vgs 2 ,Vgs 4

(c) Vds 2 ,Vds 4 Vds1 ,Vds 3 Vds 2 ,Vds 4


1
S1 Vin
Lss Vout 2
Cs1
iLr
C1 S2 Lr Do1
Vin Cs2
Lm n1 n2 Co Ro
S3 Cr n2
C2 Css iLm
Cs3
Do2
S4 iS1 iS 2
Cs4
(d)
Fig.1. Circuit derivation of proposed converter: (a) Conventional iS 3 iS 4
half-bridge LLC converter, (b) Three-level flying-capacitor cell, (c)
Proposed Flying-Capacitor based hybrid LLC converter and (d) iCss
Optimized Flying-Capacitor based hybrid LLC converter.

In this paper, a flying-capacitor based hybrid LLC converter i Do1 iD o 2 iD o1


with input voltage auto-balance ability is proposed for the high t0 t1 t2 t3 t 4 t 5 t '0
input voltage applications. The proposed converter, as shown in Fig. 2. Main waveforms of proposed converter (fm<fs<fr).
Fig. 1 (c), is derived from the combination of the HB LLC
converter and three-level flying-capacitor cell. Additionally, in As shown in Fig. 1(d), S1, S2, S3 and S4 are the primary-side
order to suppress the charging and discharging impulse currents power switches; CS1, CS2, CS3 and CS4 are their parallel
on the power components as well as reduce the size of the capacitors. CSS is the flying capacitor, and Lss is the inserted
flying capacitor, a small resonant inductor is added in series series inductor to limit the current surge of CSS, which consists
with the flying capacitor [26]-[28]. In this way, the proposed of the circuit equivalent parasitic inductor and the additional
hybrid LLC converter can be optimized as shown in Fig. 1(d). It inductor. In the LLC resonant tank, Cr is the series resonant
integrates the strengths of the half bridge LLC converter and capacitor; Lr is the series resonant inductor, which is composed
three-level flying-capacitor cell while at the same time of the equivalent leakage inductance of the transformer and an
overcomes the weakness in each circuit. The switch voltage additional inductor; and Lm is transformer magnetizing
stress is clamped to only half of the input voltage. Furthermore, inductance. Do1 and Do2 are the output rectifier diodes. The
due to the operation of the flying capacitor, the switch voltage transformer has a turn ratio of n=n1/n2. In the presented
stress can be shared equally and automatically due to the converter, switches S1 and S3 are driven with a constant 50%
inherent flying-capacitor cell. Also, all primary switches and duty cycle simultaneously, while the switches S2 and S4 are both
secondary diodes are turned on and off with soft switching complementary to S1 and S3.
performance during wide input voltage and load conditions due There are two operational modes for the proposed hybrid
to the LLC converter technique. Moreover, since the proposed LLC converter. When Css is paralleled with C1, C1 mainly
hybrid LLC converter only has one resonant tank, the risk of provides energy for the LLC resonant tank, and C2 is charged
by the same amount. The resonant tank obtains its energy from

0885-8993 (c) 2015 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See
http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.
This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/TPEL.2015.2434839, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics

both C1 and Css. In the other mode, when Css is in parallel with S1

C2, C2 provides the supplement energy for Css, and C1 is C1 Cs1


Vout
Lr
charged by the same amount. Resonance in the LLC tank Lss
S2 Do1
Cs2 Co Ro
continues but no external energy is provided for the resonant Vin
Lm n1 n2
n2
Css Cr
tank. S3 Cs3
Do2
C2
There are two resonant frequencies for the proposed hybrid
LLC converter. One is due to Lr and Cr, while the other is S4 Cs4

caused by Lm, Lr and Cr, which can be expressed as follows: (e)


1 discharging

fr  S1

2 Lr  Cr C1 Cs1
Vout
(1) S2
charging Lr
Do1
Lss
1
fm 
Cs2 n2 Co Ro
Lm n1

2  Lr  Lm   Cr
discharging n2
Vin Cr
Css
Do2
(2) C2
S3 Cs3

By varying the switching frequency fs, there are three charging

S4 Cs4
frequency ranges, namely fm<fs<fr, fs=fr, and fs>fr. Due to LLC
characteristics [9], the converter can achieve ZVS for the (f)
primary switches in all three ranges, and achieve ZCS for the Fig. 3. Operational stages of proposed converter: (a) (Stage 1) [t0~t1],
(b) (Stage 2) [t1~t2], (c) (Stage 3) [t2~t3], (d) (Stage 4) [t3~t4], (e) (Stage 5)
secondary diodes in the range of fm<fs<fr. As a result, the [t4~t5], and (f) (Stage 6) [t5~t6].
converter is recommended to operate in the range of fm<fs<fr.
The main waveforms of the proposed hybrid LLC converter Stage 1 [t0 - t1]: At t0, switches S1 and S3 are turned on with
for fm<fs<fr are shown in Fig. 2. There are six main operational ZVS. The magnetizing current iLm linearly increases while the
stages, and the corresponding equivalent circuits are shown in resonant current iLr increases sinusoidally. The difference
Fig. 3. The operational principle of the hybrid LLC converter is between iLm and iLr flows through the transformer primary
analyzed in detail as follows. winding, enabling the rectifier diode Do1 to conduct. The
S1 transformer primary side voltage is clamped to the output
C1 Cs1

Lr
Vout voltage NVout. Therefore, the resonance occurs between only
S2
Lss
Cs2
Do1
Co Ro
the leakage inductor Lr and the capacitor Cr, sourced by
Lm n1 n2
Vin
Css Cr n2 voltage(VC1 - NVout).
C2
S3 Cs3
Do2
The flying capacitor Css is paralleled with the input capacitor
C1. At t0, VCss>VC1 since Css is smaller than C1 and iCss is twice
S4 Cs4
of iC1 in the last stage. Therefore, there is resonant charging
(a) current from Css to C1, which flows in the direction is3, the
S1 opposite direction to is1 (the positive current through each
C1 Cs1
Vout switch is downwards). So in stage 1, is3 is slightly larger than is1.
Lr
Lss
S2 Do1 The sum of the voltage of C1 and C2 is clamped to the input
Cs2 n2 Co Ro
Vin Cr
Lm n1
n2
voltage Vin
VC1 (t )  VC 2 (t )  Vin (t )
Css
S3 Cs3
Do2 (3)
C2
Therefore, the total electric charge in C1 and C2 is constant.
S4 Cs4
In this way, the electric charge that charges to C2 should always
(b) be equal to the one that discharges from C1.
charging
S1 For stage 1-3, assuming that iC1 is the discharging current of
Cs1
C1
discharging
Vout C1 and iC2 is the charging current of C2, the following can be
S2 Lr
Lss
Cs2
Do1 obtained,
Co Ro
iC1 (t )  iC 2 (t )
Lm n1 n2
Vin charging
Cr n2 (4)
Css
Do2
C2
S3 Cs3
Also, the current is1 and is3 though switch S1 and S3 can be
discharging
expressed as follows:
is1 (t )  iC1 (t )  iC 2 (t )
S4 Cs4
(5)
(c)
S1
is 3 (t )  iCss (t ) (6)
C1 Cs1
Vout
Stage 2 [t1 - t2]: At t1, the magnetizing current iLm equals to
Lr
Lss
S2 Do1 the resonant current iLr. The secondary current drops to zero
Cs2 Co Ro
Lm n1 n2
n2
naturally, assuming the stray inductance in the secondary is
Vin Cr
Css
S3 Cs3
Do2 small enough to be ignored. Consequently, ZCS is achieved for
C2
the rectifier diode Do1. The transformer is no longer clamped by
S4 Cs4 the output voltage Vout, and the magnetizing inductor Lm also
(d) participates in resonance. Since the resonant frequency is much
higher than the switching frequency, iLr can be assumed
constant.

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The currents is1 and is3 through switches S1 and S3 can be equivalent circuits are shown in Fig.4(a) when Css and Lss are
expressed as connected to C1 and C2. Vss is the voltage across the flying
is1 (t )  is 3 (t )  iLr (t ) (7) branch. Assuming Vc1 > Vc2, the waveforms of the voltage
Since Css and Lss are in a resonant state whose resonance balance operation is shown in Fig. 4(b). During each half of the
frequency is set as the same as that of the LLC tank and no switching cycle, iss rises and falls in a sinusoidal form due to the
power supply is added to the flying capacitor, the current voltage difference between Css and the input capacitors. iss is
through the flying capacitor iCss, i.e. the current is3, continues expressed as
V
decreasing in the previous resonant shape. To sustain a constant
iss (t )  sin(ss t ) (13)
iLr, is1 increases by the same amount, which is supplied by the ss  Lss
voltage source.
1
Stage 3 [t2 - t3]: At t2, switches S1 and S3 are turned off. ss  (14)
During the dead time period, since the resonant current iLr lags 2 Css  Lss
the gate signals of the power switches and maintains a constant
value, the junction capacitors Cs1 and Cs3 are charged and Cs2 where V∆ is the difference between Vcss and the input capacitors
and Cs4 are discharged. When the voltage across switches S2 at the beginning of each half cycle. At the beginning of the first
and S4 drops to zero, a freewheeling current flows through the half cycle, V∆ =Vc1 - Vcss, and iss start to transfer the electrical
bypass diodes of the switches, which creates the ZVS charge from C1 to Css. At the end of the first half cycle,
conditions for switches S2 and S4. Vcss=V∆+Vc1, due to the resonant operation of the flying branch.
In stage 3, the flying-capacitor branch provides the In the second half cycle, iss transfers the electrical charge from
freewheeling path for ZVS of switch S4. By selecting the Css to C2 in a similar manner. Consequently, Vc1 and Vc2 become
appropriate dead time interval, when switches S2 and S4 are closer and closer due to the flying branch.
turned on, the voltage of the switches S2 and S4 is zero and iLr is ic1 iss ic2 iss
positive, the switches can be turned on with ZVS.
C1 Lss C2 Lss
Stage 4 [t3 - t4]: At t3, switches S2 and S4 are turned on with Vss Vss
zero switch voltage. The operation principle in stage 4 is similar
Css Css
to that in stage 1.
is 2 (t )  iLr (t )  iCss (t ) (8)
(a)
is 4 (t )  iCss (t ) (9) Vgs1, Vgs3 Vgs1, Vgs3
Stage 5 [t4 - t5]: The operation principle in stage 5 is similar Vgs2, Vgs4
to that in stage 2, and the corresponding current relationship is:
is 2 (t )  is 4 (t )  iLr (t ) (10)
Vss Vc1 Vc2
In stages 4 and 5, when S2 and S4 conduct, the current though
Css is the sum of the currents through C1 and C2, that is
iCss (t )  iC1 (t )  iC 2 (t ) (11)
iss
It is not difficult to find that (4) also applies for stage 4-6.
From (4) and (11), the following can be derived
1 0 ½T T
iC1 (t )  iC 2 (t )  iCss (t ) (12)
(b)
2
Fig.4. Voltage balance mechanism: (a) equivalent circuits when flying
Stage 6 [t5 - t6]: The operation principle in stage 6 is similar capacitor branch is connected to C1 and C2, (b) voltage balance
to that in stage 3. waveforms.
When the proposed hybrid LLC converter operates at fs=fr or
in the range of fs>fr, stages 2 and 5 do not occur. In the range of The resonant frequency of Css and Lss is the same as fr, iss
fs>f, the reverse recovery problem occurs in the secondary becomes zero at the moments of switching, which has no effect
diodes. on the ZVS realization of the power devices. The ZVS design
of the converter is similar to that of the conventional HB LLC
III. CONVERTER PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS converter.
The values of Css and Lss affect the voltage auto-balance
A. Input Voltage Balance performance of the converter. First, in order to achieve
ZVS-ON, the resonant frequency of Css and Lss should be equal
When S1 and S3 turn on, the branch of Css and Lss is connected to fr. The equivalent current iblc transferred between C1 and C2 is
to C1. The flying capacitor branch is connected to C2 when S2
and S4 turn on. The flying capacitor branch transfers the iblc  2V Css f r (15)
electrical charge between C1 and C2 to balance the input iblc increases as Css rises, which means stronger balance
voltages. capability. However, iss increases as Lss decreases, which leads
The proposed converter can be regarded as the to large current stress on the power devices. On the other hand,
superimposition of a LLC converter and a flying branch the size of Lss is usually bigger than that of Css. The design of
consisting of Css and Lss. The voltage balance operation of the the flying branch should also take into consideration the
flying branch is presented in Fig. 4. The voltage balance

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volume of the converter as well as the potential voltage Fig. 6.


imbalance extent. Cr Lr
nVout
B. Current Sharing of Primary Switches
1 8n2
In the normal operation where the voltages of the two input Vs1  Vin sin(2 f st ) Req  Ro
capacitors are the same, the flying capacitor branch also  Lm 2
provides the resonant current for the resonant tank. The
equivalent circuits when the flying branch is connected to C1 Fig. 6. Equivalent circuits for FHA.
and C2 are shown in Fig.5 (a) and (b). Rs1 ~ Rs4 are the
conduction resistances of the four power devices, and all of The DC conversion ratio of the resonant tank is
them are taken as equal to Rs. Because C1 and C2 are much
nVout 1 (18)
larger than Css, they are represented by two DC voltage sources M ( f n ,  , Q)  
Vs1  1
Vc1 and Vc2 whose voltages are the same. ir is the resonant (1    2 )  Q ( f n  )2
2 2

current that changes at fr. fn fn


Because Vc1, Vc2 and the DC bias of Vcss are the same, the two where
circuits in Fig.5(a) and (b) can be transformed into the same Q  ZO Req   Lr Lm f n  f s f r fr  1 (2 LrCr )
equivalent AC circuit model shown in Fig.5(c). The , , , ,
distribution of the currents through the left two branches can be Z0  Lr Cr  2 fr Lr  1 (2 frCr ) .
analyzed based on their AC impedances. The impedance of the
flying branch is
1  r 2 Lss Css
Z ss   Rs (16)
jr Css
where ωr is the resonant angular frequency of Lr and Cr:
1
r  (17)
Lr Cr
iss iss Lss ib2 iss
Lss Lss (a)
Rs1 Css
Css ir ir Rs Css ir
Rs2
Vc1 + Rs4
- -
Rs3 Vc2 + Rs

(a) (b) (c)


Fig. 5 Equivalent circuits in normal operation when (a) S1 and S3 turned
on, (b) S2 and S4 turned on; (c) AC circuit model.
Since the resonant frequency of Lss and Css is equal to ωr, Zss
is simplified to Rs. As a result, the impedances of the left two
branches in the AC circuit model are the same, which means iss
is half of ir in normal operation. Therefore, ir is distributed
(b)
evenly between two switches at any time, which effectively Fig. 7. DC conversion ratio curve impacted by different parameters: (a)
reduces the conduction losses of the power devices. DC conversion gain with different λ (Q=0.3), (b) DC conversion gain with
In practice, Lss and Css may vary at a small range, so that the different Q (λ=0.15).
first item on the right side of (15) may not be zero, which may
The curves of DC gain with different inductance ratio λ or
lead to uneven current distribution and phase difference. In
different Q are plotted in Fig. 7. From Fig. 7(a), with λ
order to alleviate the impact of the parameter variation, a larger
increasing, steeper voltage curves are obtained, which assures
Css and a smaller Lss are recommended according to (16).
wider voltage gain within limited frequency range. But a larger
Therefore, the design of the Css and Lss is dependent on the
λ means a smaller magnetizing inductance, which results in
current sharing performance as well as the current stress and
larger circulating current and larger conduction losses.
voltage balance capability as analyzed in Section III-A.
Therefore, λ should be selected as a trade-off between these two
C. Voltage Gain performance indicators, which means to select λ as small as
The proposed hybrid LLC converter achieves energy possible but at the same time it should satisfy the gain
transfer from the input to the output via the resonance of Lr and requirement.
Cr. Since it is desirable to operate below or close to the Fig. 7(b) shows that smaller Q leads to a wider operating
resonance frequency, as displayed in Fig. 2, the fundamental frequency range and a larger maximum gain, but it also means
harmonic approximation (FHA) is suitable for converter that the magnetizing inductance becomes smaller, resulting in
analysis. That is, only the fundamental component of the input larger circulating current and larger conduction losses.
square wave is effective for transferring energy to the output Therefore, Q should be appropriately compromised.
[29] [30], so the equivalent converter circuit is as shown in the From above, λ can be obtained by applying the maximum
frequency in the maximum input voltage and no load

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10.1109/TPEL.2015.2434839, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics

conditions, and Q can be obtained based on λ and set as large as It is reasonable to define that the junction capacitor Cs is
possible. small. By selecting Lss appropriately, the resonant period can be
set to be similar to the integral division of the dead time period,
D. Input Impedance and Critical Condition so that the total charges through Cs1 and Cs2 during dead time
From the equivalent circuit in Fig. 6, the input impedance of period are similar to those of Cs3 and Cs4 regardless of the initial
the converter is state, and the four switches are supposed to have a similar ZVS
1 condition. As a result, the ZVS analysis method of the
Zin (s)  sLr   Req / / sLm (19) conventional HB LLC converter can be applied.
sCr Assuming that θ is the lag angle of the resonant current
The normalized form is expressed as relative to the input voltage of the LLC resonant tank, to
Z ( f ,  , Q) jf n 1  fn2 (20) achieve ZVS operation, the following current requirement
Z n ( f n ,  , Q)  in n  
Z0   jf nQ jf n should be met
T 4C V (25)
The critical condition between the inductive impedance and I ZVS  ir ( )  2I r sin   s in
capacitive impedance is obtained by setting the imaginary part 2 Tdead
of the expression as zero. The quality factor Q under this And the input power of the resonant tank can be expressed as
critical condition is 1
Pin  Vin I r cos (26)
   
2
(21) 
Qmax ( f n.min ,  )    From (25) and (26), a ZVS condition can be derived as
1  f n.min 2  f n.min  2CsVin 2 (27)
Substituting (21) into (18), and assuming the converter tan  
operates at the lowest frequency  Tdead Pin
f n.min From (20), the tangent value of θ is
M ( f ,) 
max n.min
(22)
Im(Z n ( f n ,  , Q)) f n 2 (  Q 2   2 )   2  f n 4Q 2
f n.min 2 (1   )   tan   
Re( Z n ( f n ,  , Q)) f n3Q (28)
From (21) and (22), the maximum quality factor Qmax
determined by Mmax and λ is From (27) and (28), the ZVS condition is
f n 2 (  Q2   2 )   2  f n 4Q2 2CsVin 2 2CsVin 2
 1 M max 2  
Qmax ( )   (23) f n3Q  Tdead Pin  Tdead Pout (29)
M max  M max 2  1 It should be also pointed out that the flying-capacitor branch
E. ZVS Soft-Switching Condition can also affect the soft switching performance. The resonant
From the equivalent circuit in Fig.6, it is not difficult to frequency of Css and Lss is designed be equal to fr. When fs ≥ fr,
obtain that even in no load condition or with a wide-range input the ZVS conditions of all the four switches can be satisfied. If fs
voltage, ZVS can still be achieved with appropriate design of < fr, the capacitive impedance of the flying branch causes iss to
the circuit parameters. reverse the direction before switching. For S1 and S2, the ZVS
During the dead time period, the resonant current can be condition may be weakened. But iss is usually smaller than the
assumed as a constant current source. Because the input resonant tank current, S1 and S2 can still turn on with ZVS. For
capacitors are in series with the junction capacitors of the S3 and S4, the current through the switches are always equal to
power switches, the large input capacitances can be ignored. iss. The ZVS condition is lost when the impedance of the flying
The ZVS equivalent circuit during the dead time can be derived branch becomes capacitive. As a result, the proposed converter
as shown in Fig. 8. is recommended to work under the condition that fs ≥ fr in order
to achieve ZVS for all switches.
Decrease Resonantly
Lss Cs1 Cs2 IV. TOPOLOGY EXTENSION
Constant
The introduced hybrid LLC converter uses one flying
Css Cs3 Cs4 capacitor to achieve the input voltage auto-balance between the
Increase Resonantly
two input capacitors, and therefore the voltage stress across
each power switch is clamped to only half of the input voltage.
Fig. 8. ZVS equivalent circuit during the dead time. The proposed topology can be extended to use (N-1) flying
As analyzed in section II, when the dead time period starts, capacitors to achieve the voltage auto-balance among N input
the initial current through the upper half-bridge module is capacitors, as shown in Fig. 9. Switches S11, S21, …SN1 are
larger than the lower one. So the initial charging and driven with a constant 50% duty cycle simultaneously, while
discharging current through Cs1 and Cs2 is large, and then the switches S12, S22, …SN2 are all complementary to S11, S21,
decreases resonantly. The charging and discharging current …SN1. The voltage stress of each power switch is only 1/N of
through Cs3 and Cs4 is small, and then increases resonantly. This the input voltage. In comparison, for the three-level LLC
resonant frequency is expressed as follows resonant converter proposed in [16], additional voltage balance
1 1 mechanism should be considered to make the input capacitor
f dead   voltage balance if N models are in series. In other words, by the
2 Lss  (Cs1  Cs 2 )//(Cs 3  Cs 4 ) 2 Lss  Cs topology extension, the derived converters can be applied in the
(24)

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high input voltage and high step-down DC/DC conversion 1  M min f2


systems.   2 n.max (34)
S11
M min f n.max  1
Cs11 Vout
6. In the minimum input voltage and full load conditions, the
C1 Lr Do1
Lss1 S12 maximum quality factor Q can be obtain as
Cs12 n2 Co Ro
Lm n1
S21 Cr n2
follow(consider 5% margin):
Css1
Vin C2 Cs21
Do2  2
M max 1(35)
Q  95%  Qmax  95%  
M max  M max  1
S22 2

Cs22

7. In the minimum input voltage and full load conditions,



LssN-1
obtain the minimum switching frequency as follow:
SN1 (36)
1
f n.min ( ) 
CN CssN-1 CsN1
SN2 1 1 
1  1 
  M max 2 
CsN2
Fig. 9. Topology extension with N input capacitors.
8. Substituting above λ and Q into the following equation,
V. DESIGN EXAMPLE check if it is true. If not, repeat step 6 and consider a larger
margin:
A. Converter Specifications
f n2.min (  Q2   2 )   2  f n4.minQ2 2CsVin 2 (37)

TABLE I. SPECIFICATIONS OF PROPOSED CONVERTER 3
f n.minQ  Tdead Pout
Component Parameters 9. If step 8 is not true, repeat step 6 by gradually increasing the
Power Level (Pout) 1kW 5% margin to get a decreasing Q until (37) is true. And
Input Voltage (Vin.min~Vin.max) 500V~640V then calculate the characteristic impedance and parameters
Standard Input Voltage (Vin.n) 600V of the resonant components:
1 Z L
Output Voltage (Vout) 48V Z0  Q  Req,Cb  ,Lr  0 ,Lm  r (38)
Standard Switching Frequency (fn) 100kHz 2 f s Z0 2 f s 
Maximum Switching Frequency (fmax) 110kHz 10. The design of Css and Lss should first meet the potential
Minimum Switching Frequency (fmin) 75kHz voltage imbalance extent. The imbalance is mainly
Dead Time (Tdead) 200ns attributed to the variation of the leakage current of the
Load Resistance (Ro) 2.5Ω input electrolytic capacitor. The acceptable voltage
imbalance should have negligible influence on the power
In order to verify the effectiveness of the proposed hybrid device safety and the normal operation of the resonant
LLC converter as shown in Fig.1(d), a 500V~640V-input tank. In this paper, the maximum input voltage gap Vgap is
48V-output 1kW prototype was tested. The converter set to be 1%. Then the lower limit of Css can be calculated
specifications are shown in Table I. by
B. Design Process i
1. Assuming that the gain equates 1 at standard input voltage, Css min  blc
2Vgap f r (39)
the turn ratio of the transformer is obtained as follow:
Vout 1V And the maximum value of Lss is then derived by
M n  2n  1  n  in.n (30)
1
Vin.n 2 Vout Lss max 
2. Calculate the maximum gain and the minimum gain within 4 f r 2Css min
2
(40)
the input voltage range: Considering the current stress and the current sharing
Vout V performance, Css and Lss could be further optimized by
M max  2n ,M min  2n out (31)
simulation.
Vin.min Vin.max
From above, the specific components of the design
3. Obtain the normalized frequency fn.max as follow: example can be obtained as shown in Table II.
f max
f n.max  (32) TABLE II DESIGN COMPONENTS OF PROPOSED CONVERTER
fs Quality Factor (Q) 0.709
4. Express the equivalent resistance of the load on the primary Inductor Ratio (λ) 0.391
side of the transformer as follow: Characteristic Impedance (Z0) 14.256Ω
8
Req  n2 Ro (33) Resonant Capacitor (Cr) 110nF
 2
Resonant Inductor (Lr) 22.70μH
5. Assuming that the hybrid LLC converter operates at the Magnetizing Inductor (Lm) 58μH
maximum frequency in the maximum input voltage and no Flying Capacitor (Css) 2.2μF
load conditions, from (23), the inductance ratio λ can be Resonant Inductor of Css (Lss) 1.15μH
obtained as follow:

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Input Capacitor (C1 and C2) 470μF vgs1


RMS Current through Main Switches 3.836A (10V/div)

Average Current through Diodes 10A vLss


Main Switches (S1 ~S4) IRFP460 (10V/div)
Diodes (Do1 and Do2) STPS30150PT
vCss
Output Capacitor (Co) 2200μF (10V/div)
Turns Ratio (n=n1:n2:n2) 16:5:5
2μs/div
In order to better illuminate the performance difference (a)
between with and without the series inductor, the result
comparison under different parameter and load conditions is
given in Table III, where the simulated specifications are quite
vCr
similar to those in the prototype except that the series inductor (100V/div)
is set as 0 and 1.15μH, respectively. From Table III, it can be
iCss
concluded that the surge current and voltage gap across the (5A/div)
flying capacitor can be reduced by inserting a small series iLr
inductor because it serves as a passive damping component to (5A/div)

suppress the current slew rate. 2μs/div


(b)
TABLE III. SIMULATION COMPARISON WITH AND WITHOUT SERIES Fig. 11. Experimental results of flying capacitor (fs=100kHz): (a)
INDUCTOR Waveforms of vLss and vCss, (b) Waveforms of vCr, iCss and iLr
Lss=0 Lss=1.15μH ZVS and ZCS waveforms at fs=100kHz are plotted in
Load
iCss_peak VC1-VC2 iCss_peak VC1-VC2 Fig.12. From Fig.12 (a)-(d), the switch voltage stress is about
Full load 47A 6.18V 6.03A 0.26V 300V, which is half of the 600V input voltage. This means the
Half load 16.3A 2.15V 4.17A 0.24V low voltage rated power switches can be employed. Also, the
No load 5.55A 1.29V 3.02A 0.24V drain-source voltages of the switches fall to zero before the
turn-on gate signal is applied, which indicates that ZVS is
achieved for all the switches. In Fig.12 (e), the current through
VI. EXPERIMENT VERIFICATION
the secondary diode falls to zero before it turns off. This means
The experimental results of above design example are there is no diode reverse-recovery problems for the secondary
shown in Fig. 10 to Fig. 14, which are in the full load condition. diodes.
The input voltage and the voltages of the input capacitors
vds1
C1 and C2 are shown in Fig.10. The voltage of each capacitor is (100V/div)
300V, which is only half of the input voltage, which illustrates
vgs1
that voltage balance is maintained due to the inherent voltage (10V/div)
sharing mechanism.
Vin
(200V/div) ids1
600V (5A/div)
VC1
300V (200V/div)
2μs/div
(a)
300V
-VC2 vds2
(200V/div) (100V/div)

vgs2
100μs/div (10V/div)
Fig. 10. Experimental results of Vin, VC1 and VC2.

The AC voltage waveforms of the flying capacitor and its ids2


resonant inductor are plotted in Fig.11 (a), and their DC offset (5A/div)

voltages are correspondingly 300V and 0V. The voltage 2μs/div


waveform of the resonant capacitor, the current waveform of (b)
the LLC resonant tank and the current waveform of the flying vds3
capacitor are shown in Fig.11 (b). Standard resonance occurs in (100V/div)

the LLC resonant tank when the switching frequency is 100kHz vgs3
(fs=fr), and the current through the resonant switch capacitor is (10V/div)

half of the LLC resonant current and the same in each phase.
This is in agreement with the above-mentioned analysis.
ids3
(5A/div)

2μs/div
(c)

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vds4 vds4
(100V/div)
(100V/div)

vgs4 vgs4
(10V/div) (10V/div)

ids4 ids4
(5A/div) (5A/div)

2μs/div 2μs/div
(d) (d)

iLr
(10A/div) iLr
(10A/div)

vDo1 vDo1
(50V/div)
(50V/div)
iDo1 iDo1
(10A/div) (20A/div)

2μs/div 2μs/div
(e) (e)
Fig. 12. ZVS and ZCS waveforms of proposed converter (fs=100kHz): (a) Fig. 13. ZVS and ZCS waveforms of proposed converter (fs=87kHz): (a)
waveforms of switch S1, (b) waveforms of switch S2, (c) waveforms of waveforms of switch S1, (b) waveforms of switch S2, (c) waveforms of
switch S3., (d) waveforms of switch S4. (e) waveforms of secondary diode switch S3., (d) waveforms of switch S4. (e) waveforms of secondary diode
Do1. Do1.

The ZVS and ZCS waveforms at fs=87kHz (when fs <fr) The secondary waveforms at fs=110kHz (when fs >fr) are
are given in Fig.13. The experiment results are still similar to given in Fig.14. In Fig.13, the secondary current is forced to
those in Fig.12. This indicates that the proposed converter can zero and the impulse voltage on the diode caused is almost
achieve excellent circuit performance during wide load range 150V, which indicates that the diodes suffer from
as the conventional LLC converters. reverse-recovery problem.
iLr
vds1 (10A/div)
(100V/div)

vgs1
(10V/div)

iDo1
(10A/div)
ids1 vDo1
(5A/div)
(50V/div)
2μs/div 2μs/div
(a) Fig. 14. Secondary waveforms of proposed converter (fs=110kHz).

vds2 To illustrate the performance of the resonant inductor Lss,


(100V/div) an experiment without Lss has been carried out and the current
vgs2 waveform of the flying capacitor is plotted in Fig. 15. In Fig.
(10V/div)
15, the maximum value of the current iCss is almost 15A, which
is twice of that in Fig. 11 (b) where the resonant inductor Lss is
ids2 added. In other words, the resonant inductor Lss effectively
(5A/div) reduces the impulse current through the flying capacitor.
2μs/div
vgs1
(b) (10V/div)

vds3
(100V/div)
iCss
vgs3 (5A/div)
(10V/div)

ids3 2μs/div
(5A/div)
Fig. 15. Waveforms of iCss without Lss (fs=100kHz).
2μs/div
(c)
The measured efficiency of the proposed converter at
different input voltages is plotted in Fig. 16. At 500V input, the
maximum efficiency is about 96.4%; at 600V input, the
maximum efficiency is about 96.7%; while at 640V input, the
maximum efficiency is about 97%.

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Measured Efficiency
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0885-8993 (c) 2015 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See
http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.
This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/TPEL.2015.2434839, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics

[22] L. Xu and V. G. Agelidis, “VSC Transmission System Using Flying Ye Mei was born in Zhejiang, China in 1980. He
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Trans. Power Delivery, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 693-702, 2007. of Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University,
[23] M. Khazraei, H. Sepahvand, K.A. Corzine and M. Ferdowsi, “Active Hangzhou, China, in 2002 and 2005, respectively,
Capacitor Voltage Balancing in Single-Phase Flying-Capacitor where he is currently working toward the Ph.D degree in
Multilevel Power Converters,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 59, no. Electrical Engineering.
2, pp. 769-778, 2012. His research interests include high efficiency power
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[26] K. Jin and X. Ruan, “Zero-Voltage-Switching Multiresonant and is currently pursuing the Ph.D degree in the College
Three-Level Converters,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 54, no. 3, pp. of Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University,
1705-1715, 2007. Hangzhou, China.
[27] T. A. Bellei, E. H. Camm, and G. Ransom, “Current-limiting inductors His research interests include paralleled resonant
used in capacitor bank applications and their impact on fault current and phase shift converters, grid-connected inverters,
interruption,” in Proc. IEEE Power Eng. Soc. Transm. Distrib. Conf. energy routers and LED drivers.
Expo., vol. 1, pp. 603–607, 2001.
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[29] N. R. W. Erickson and D. Maksimovic Fundamentals of Power Xiangning He (M’95--SM’96--F’10) received the
Electronics, 2001 :Kluwer. B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from Nanjing University of
[30] G.-C. Hsieh, C.-Y. Tsai and S.-H. Hsieh, “Design Considerations for Aeronautical and Astronautical, Nanjing, China, in
LLC Series-Resonant Converter in Two-Resonant Regions,” IEEE 1982 and 1985, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree
Power Electronics Specialists Conference, pp. 731-736, 2007. from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 1989.
From 1985 to 1986, he was an Assistant Engineer
at the 608 Institute of Aeronautical Industrial General
Company, Zhuzhou, China. From 1989 to 1991, he
was a Lecturer at Zhejiang University. In 1991, he
obtained a Fellowship from the Royal Society of U.K.,
and conducted research in the Department of Computing and Electrical
Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, U.K., as a Post-Doctoral
Research Fellow for two years. In 1994, he joined Zhejiang University as an
Associate Professor. Since 1996, he has been a Full Professor in the College of
Wuhua Li (M’09) received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degree Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University. He was the Director of the Power
in Applied Power Electronics and Electrical Electronics Research Institute and the Head of the Department of Applied
Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Electronics, and he is currently the Vice Dean of the College of Electrical
China, in 2002 and 2008, respectively. Engineering, Zhejiang University. His research interests are power electronics
From 2004 to 2005, he was a Research Intern, and their industrial applications. He is the author or co-author of more than 280
and from 2007 to 2008, a Research Assistant in GE papers and one book “Theory and Applications of Multi-level Converters”. He
Global Research Center, Shanghai, China. From 2008 holds 22 patents.
to 2010, he joined the College of Electrical Dr. He received the 1989 Excellent Ph.D. Graduate Award, the 1995 Elite
Engineering, Zhejiang University as a Post doctor. In Prize Excellence Award, the 1996 Outstanding Young Staff Member Award
2010, he was promoted as an Associate Professor. Since and 2006 Excellent Staff Award from Zhejiang University for his teaching and
2013, he has been a Full Professor at Zhejiang University. From 2010 to 2011, research contributions. He received seven Scientific and Technological
he was a Ryerson University Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Achievements Awards from Zhejiang Provincial Government and the State
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Educational Ministry of China in 1998, 2002, 2009 and 2011 respectively, and
Canada. His research interests include high power devices, advanced power six Excellent Paper Awards.
converters and operation optimization for renewable energy based power Dr. He is a Fellow of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
systems. Dr. Li has published more than 100 peer-reviewed technical papers (IEEE) and has been appointed as IEEE Distinguished Lecturer by the IEEE
and holds over 30 issued/pending patents. Power Electronics Society in 2011. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of
Due to his excellent teaching and research contributions, Dr. Li received the Engineering and Technology (formerly IEE), U.K.
2011 TOP TEN Excellent Young Staff Award and the 2012 Distinguished
Young Scholar from Zhejiang University, the 2012 Outstanding Young Changliang Xia (M’08--SM’12) was born in Tianjin,
Researcher Award from Zhejiang Province, the 2012 Delta Young Scholar China, in 1968. He received the B. S. degree from
from Delta Environmental & Educational Foundation and the 2012 National Tianjin University, China, in 1990, and the M. S. and
Outstanding Young Scholar. He received four Scientific and Technological Ph.D. degrees from Zhejiang University, China, in
Achievements Awards from Zhejiang Provincial Government and the State 1993 and 1995 respectively, all in electrical
Educational Ministry of China in 2009, 2011 and 2014, respectively. engineering.
He is currently a Professor in the School of
Qingjing Luo received the B.Sc. degree in Electronics Electrical Engineering and Automation, Tianjin
and Electrical Engineering from Huazhong University University, and also in Tianjin Key Laboratory of
of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China in 2012, Advanced Technology of Electrical Engineering and
and is currently pursuing the M.Sc. degree in the Energy, Tianjin Polytechnic University. In 2008, he became “Yangtze Fund
College of Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Scholar” Distinguished Professor and is currently supported by National
Hangzhou, China. Science Foundation of China for Distinguished Young Scholars. His research
His research interests include high efficiency interests include electrical machines and their control systems, power
power converters. electronics, and control of wind generators.

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