In this paper the modularity concept applied to medium-voltage adjustable speed drives is addressed. First, the single-phase cascaded voltage-source inverter that uses series connection of IGBT H-bridge modules with isolated dc-buses is presented. Next, a novel three-phase cascaded voltage-source inverter that uses three IGBT triphase inverter modules along with an output transformer to obtain a 3 p.u. multilevel output voltage is introduced. The system yields in high-quality multistep voltage with up to 4 levels and low dv/dt, balanced operation of the inverter modules, each supplying a third of the motor rated kVA. The concept of using cascaded inverters is further extended to a new modular motor-modular inverter system where the motor winding connections are reconnected into several three-phase groups, either six-lead or 12-lead connection according to the voltage level, each powered by a standard triphase IGBT inverter module. Thus, a high fault tolerance is being achieved and the output transformer requirement is eliminated. A staggered space-vector modulation technique applicable to three-phase cascaded voltage-source inverter topologies is also demonstrated. Both computer simulations and experimental tests demonstrate the feasibility of the systems.
Ieee Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 2002, Vol 49, Issue 3, p. 832-838