A novel MMC control scheme to increase the DC voltage in HVDC transmission systems

Rui Li, John Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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This research investigates third harmonic injection applied to a modular multilevel converter (MMC) to generate a higher DC voltage. This is achieved using a proposed novel control scheme that activates existing submodules (SMs) in the converter arms. The technique is fundamentally different to, and does the reverse of, the well-known third harmonic injection techniques utilized to increase the AC output voltage in three-phase converter systems for a given DC link voltage. In the proposed scheme, the number of inserted SMs in each converter leg is greater than the number of SMs per arm, whence the MMC can operate with a higher DC link voltage while the SM number per arm and their capacitor voltages remain unchanged. This lowers the DC current and the DC transmission loss is significantly reduced by 22%. Station conduction losses with the operational scheme are lowered by 2.4%. The semiconductor current stresses are also lowered due to the reduced DC component of arm currents. Additionally, the phase energy variation is reduced by 18%, which benefits circulating current control. The operating principles are presented in detail and mathematical models for conduction losses, energy variation, and circulating voltage are derived. Simulation of a point-to-point HVDC system demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed MMC operational scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-553
Number of pages10
JournalElectric Power Systems Research
Early online date11 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


  • DC transmission loss
  • HVDC transmission
  • modular multilevel converter (MMC)
  • sinusoidal modulation
  • third harmonic injection
  • semiconductor current
  • conduction losses
  • energy variation
  • circulating voltage


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  • University of New South Wales (UNSW)

    Rui Li (Visiting researcher)

    Nov 2015Jan 2016

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

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