Reduced switching-frequency voltage-balancing strategies for modular multilevel hvdc converters

Jiangchao Qin, Maryam Saeedifard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Scopus citations


The modular multilevel converter (MMC) is a potential candidate for medium/high-power applications, specifically for high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission systems. One of the technical challenges associated with the control of an MMC is to carry out the submodule (SM) capacitor voltages balancing task without imposing any unnecessary switching transition among the SMs. This paper develops a general framework for the capacitor voltage balancing of an MMC. Based on the developed framework and with the objective of reducing the unnecessary switching transitions among the SMs, three capacitor voltage-balancing strategies are proposed and investigated: 1) a slow-rate balancing strategy based on the conventional sorting method; 2) a hybrid balancing strategy which combines a predictive method with the conventional sorting method; and 3) a fundamental-frequency balancing strategy. Performance of the proposed strategies for a point-to-point 21-level MMC-based HVDC system is evaluated based on time-domain simulation studies in the PSCAD/EMTDC software environment. The reported study results demonstrate the capability and tradeoffs of the proposed strategies to reduce the number of switching transitions and, consequently, the MMC losses, under various conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6583311
Pages (from-to)2403-2410
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Capacitor voltage balancing
  • modular multilevel converter
  • predictive voltage error sorting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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