Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Herbert L. Ginn III


The Modular Multilevel Converter (MMC) is an emerging power converter technology that has caught widespread attention mainly because of several technical and economic benefits such as modular realization, easy scalability, low total harmonic distortion, fail-safe operations etc. The MMC is comprised of a series connection of sub-modules (SM). A sub-module is made by either a half-bridge or a full-bridge IGBT device and a capacitor as a source of energy connected across the bridge. This modular structure allows for the possibility to design high-voltage converters handling hundreds of kilo-volts without direct series connection of the power semiconductor devices.

Due to its modular and safe-fail structure, ability to work at low switching frequency (few hundreds of Hz) and reduced filtering requirements the MMCs are suitable for utility applications. One of the main challenges of a utility MMC is operation under non-ideal grid supply conditions. This includes phase to phase faults, phase to ground faults, non-sinusoidal grid supply etc.

This dissertation presents a novel control strategy for MMC based on frequency domain decomposition of the converter currents. The converter supply voltage is also decomposed into symmetrical components. By using the positive sequence grid voltage component as a reference voltage the control system can produce symmetric sinusoidal phase currents under any type of grid unbalance condition. A novel circulating current controller based on frequency domain decomposition of arm currents is also presented which minimizes DC bus current ripples during unbalance grid supply

A novel and simple method for estimating operating region of certain MMC parameters as a function of input variables (grid voltages and power references) is developed. The function of the operating region with respect to key system parameters ensures that the operating region can be maximized

Finally, a new simplified loss modeling technique and a power reference computation algorithm is developed in order to extend its operating limit under certain unbalance conditions. The presented control architecture with a simplified real-time loss modeling method assures the best possible performance of a MMC during non-ideal supply conditions.


© 2015, Rostan Rodrigues