Analysis and assessment of modular multilevel converter internal control schemes

Shuren Wang, Grain P. Adam, Ahmed M. Massoud, Derrick Holliday, Barry W. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
309 Downloads (Pure)


Adoption of distributed submodule (SM) capacitors in a modular multilevel converter (MMC) necessitates complex controllers to ensure the stability of its internal dynamics. This paper presents comprehensive analysis and assessment of different proportional resonant (PR)-based control schemes proposed to stabilize the internal dynamics and ensure ac and dc sides power quality of the MMC within a dc transmission system. With the consideration of passive component tolerances, different energy and voltage based control schemes under various conditions are analyzed. It has been established that without vertical voltage balance control, unequal passive component values in the upper and lower arms of the same phase-leg may cause: unbalanced fundamental currents in the arms, unequal dc voltage across the arms, and fundamental oscillations in the common-mode currents that lead to fundamental frequency ripple in the dc link current. The theoretical analysis that explains this mechanism is presented, and is used to show that vertical voltage balancing is necessary for the nullification of arm voltage difference and suppression of odd oscillations caused by capacitive/inductive asymmetry between arms of the same phase-leg. Simulations support the theoretical analysis and the effectiveness of voltage balancing in ensuring correct operation, independent of tolerances of the MMC passive elements and operating conditions. A new direct method for elimination of fundamental oscillations in the common-mode and dc link current is proposed. Experimental results from a singlephase MMC prototype validate the presented theoretical discussions and simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalIEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics
Early online date18 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2019


  • voltage control
  • capacitors
  • capacitance
  • legged locomotion
  • oscillators
  • reactive power
  • harmonic analysis


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