(1)Low-Voltage DC Input, High-Voltage Pulse Generator Using Nano-Crystalline Transformer and Sequentially Charged MMC Sub-modules, for Water Treatment Applications M. A. Elgenedy1, A. M. Massoud2, D. Holliday1, S. Ahmed3 and B.Williams1 1 University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. 2 Qatar University, Doha, Qatar. 3 Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar. [email protected] Abstractβ€” This paper proposes a new high-voltage Pulse Generator (PG), fed from low voltage dc supply 𝑽𝒔. This input supply voltage is utilized to charge two arms of 𝑡 series-connected modular multilevel converter sub-module capacitors sequentially through a resistive-inductive branch, such that each arm is charged to 𝑡𝑽𝒔 . With a step-up nano-crystalline transformer of 𝒏 turns ratio, the proposed PG is able to generate bipolar rectangular pulses of peak ±𝒏𝑡𝑽𝒔 , at high repetition rates. However, equal voltage-second area of consecutive pulse pair polarities should be assured to avoid transformer saturation. Not only symmetrical pulses can be generated, but also asymmetrical pulses with equal voltage-second areas are possible. The proposed topology is tested via simulations and a scaled-down experimentation, which establish the viability of the topology for water treatment applications. Keywordsβ€”Pulse generator; Modular Multilevel Converter (MMC); nano-crystalline transformer; bipolar pulses; rectangular pulse-waveform I. INTRODUCTION The disinfection process in water treatment is a crucial step before piping the water to homes and businesses. Usually, it takes place after filtration, where a disinfectant (for example chlorine, and chloramine) is added to the water. The disinfection process aims to kill any remaining parasites, bacteria, and viruses to protect the water from germs before its piping [1]. Alternatively, disinfection can be successfully achieved by applying lethal electroporation to the water under treatment [2]. Generally, electroporation is the process of applying HighVoltage (HV) pulses, a Pulsed Electric Field (PEF), across a biological cell membrane. If the electric field is higher than the critical field that the cell membrane can withstand, the cell dies and the electroporation is lethal. Otherwise, the electroporation is non-lethal [2]. Lethal electroporation is utilized in several applications, such as water treatment, air pollution control, food sterilization and tissues ablation in medical applications [3]. In contrast, non-lethal electroporation is utilized, for example, in bio-fouling in industrial applications and protein insertion in medical applications [3]. This work was supported by a National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) grant NPRP (7-203-2-097) from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). HV Pulse Generators (PGs) have been utilized in electroporation applications. They vary from classical generators, such as Marx generator and pulse forming networks, to modern power electronics-based generators [2]. Generally, classical PGs generate HV pulses with limited flexibility and low repetition rates. However, employing power electronic switches with their later developments (such as high voltage withstand and high switching frequency operation) has led the emergence of new HV PG topologies. Modular Multilevel Converter (MMC) Sub-Modules (SMs) are utilized in modern PGs to afford redundancy, scalability and modularity [4]-[8]. Usually, MMC-based PG topologies are fed from a HVDC input (𝑉𝑑𝑐 ), as in HVDC transmission applications, and the novelty of these emerged MMC PG topologies focused on the concept of generating the HV pulses with flexible pulse shapes, whilst assuring individual voltage balance of each SM capacitor with reduced (or no) capacitor voltage measurements [4]-[6]. Accordingly, the maximum peak voltage of the generated pulses 1 is ±𝑉𝑑𝑐 , if four MMC arms form an H-bridge as in [6], or Β± 𝑉𝑑𝑐 2 if two MMC arms are utilized as in [4]-[5]. Sequential charging of the individual series-connected HalfBridge (HB)-MMC SM capacitors through resistors from a Low Voltage dc (LVDC) supply is proposed in [7] to generate unipolar rectangular pulses. In [8] the sequential topology of [7] is modified by using full-bridge SMs to generate bipolar pulses. This paper proposes a new PG topology fed from LVDC supply and generates HV bipolar rectangular pulses. The proposed PG is formed of two parallel phase-legs, one leg is responsible of positive pulse generation while the other leg generates a negative pulse polarity. Each phase-leg contains two arms, the upper arm is formed of series connected HB-MMC SMs, while the lower arm is formed of series-connected reverse blocking switches. The SM capacitors are charged sequentially from the LVDC supply through a resistive-inductive (π‘ŸπΏ) branch such that the input charging current has a slightly under damped response which allows rapid sequential charging of the SM capacitors. The sequentially-charged SM-capacitors are inserted simultaneously during pulse generation, hence the peak pulse voltage is ±𝑁𝑉𝑠 . The formed bipolar pulses are applied

(2) across the load through a step-up nano-crystalline core based transformer with 𝑛 turns ratio. Accordingly, the generated pulses have a peak voltage of ±𝑛𝑁𝑉𝑠 as a result of the double magnification. The validity of the proposed topology is assessed via Matlab/Simulink simulations and scaled-down experimentation. The obtained results validate the proposed topology for water treatment applications. The proposed PG topology is introduced in section II, along with its operation principle. Simulation and experimental results are present in sections III and IV, respectively. Finally, section V outlines the conclusions. SM2 Vs SMN Arm 2 SM1 Arm 1 i Nano-Crystalline Transformer r Vt - SM1 SM2 SMN + 1:n II. PROPOSED TOPOLOGY PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION L R S1 - VL S2 + Tx Vs+- Cc SM A VAB Tm B SM Switching States Tm ON OFF OFF Tx OFF ON OFF State Bypassed Inserted Idled Fig. 1. Proposed PG topology. Ts V tpp tpc tnp II III tnc Vpp I IV The SMs of Arm2 are charged sequentially and the load is subjected to Null Voltage (NV) Negative pulse generation via Arm2 SMs The SMs of Arm1 are charged sequentially and the load is subjected to Null Voltage (NV) t Positive pulse generation via Arm1 SMs The proposed PG topology is shown in Fig. 1. The upper arms, Arm1 and Arm2, are formed of 𝑁 series-connected HBMMC SMs which are charged sequentially from the LVDC supply 𝑉𝑠 through an π‘ŸπΏ branch via reverse blocking switches 𝑆1 and 𝑆2 respectively. During charging of a particular arm SM capacitors, the other arm SMs are idled. The SM capacitors of the charging arm are charged sequentially by bypassing the other series SMs in the arm while inserting the charging SM capacitor. The operating sequence of the topology to generate bipolar rectangular pulses, shown in Fig. 2, is illustrated in Table I. The pulse generation is formed of four stages, consecutively, the positive pulse, the positive SM capacitors charging, the negative pulse, and the negative SM capacitors charging. The formed voltage pulse (𝑉𝑑 ) across the primary winding of the transformer is stepped up by transformer turns ratio 𝑛 before being applied across the load. Hence, the generated voltage pulse (𝑉𝐿 ) is magnified by the number of 𝑁 sequentially charged SMs as well as the transformer turns ratio 𝑛 yielding to a voltage pulse of peak ±𝑛𝑁𝑉𝑠 across the load. By varying the number of MMC cells in-circuit, up to N cells, output pulse shaping is possible. Reverse blocking semi-conductor switches are required for 𝑆1 and 𝑆2 which can comprise an IGBT in series with a diode, as shown in Fig. 1. This is because during pulse generation, 𝑆1 and 𝑆2 arms are OFF and a reverse voltage of (𝑁 βˆ’ 1)𝑉𝑠 is applied across them. The rating of the IGBT switch is 𝑉𝑠 , and since an LVDC input source is used, a single IGBT should be sufficient. Additionally, Zero Voltage Switching (ZVS) is assured during IGBT turn ON/OFF, thus, series connection of IGBTs (if required) or the diode(s) should not present a sharing issue. The nano-crystalline core material is preferred (over ferrite) for high-frequency operation due to its high core permeability, hence high magnetizing inductance, high flux density, and near square hysteresis loop [9]. The reduced transformer volume, due to high-frequency operation, enhances the modularity of the proposed topology. Bipolar rectangular voltage pulses are advantageous over unipolar rectangular pulses in terms of applying mechanical stresses to the sample under treatment in addition to electrical stresses [10]. Using a transformer in the proposed PG supports bipolar voltage pulse generation, however, two aspects should be considered namely: the leakage inductance of the transformer and the voltage-second balance. Vnp Fig. 2. Generated bipolar rectangular voltage pulse across the transformer primary.

(3) TABLE I SEQUENCE OF OPERATION AND CIRCUIT CONFIGURATION DURING THE GENERATION OF A COMPLETE BIPOLAR PULSE CYCLE - vt + vt L + 0 vt Vs S2 Tm Req r - + vt L S1 + -Cc Req r - - Tx Vs NVs Arm2 Arm1 Arm2 Vs L S2 IV + Cc /N Req r + Arm1 Arm2 Vs Req III Tm - 0 L S2 Vs -Cc Negative arm SMs charging S1 NVs + Negative Pulse S2 Vs Arm1 Tx II + r Positive arm SMs charging S1 Cc /N Arm2 Arm1 I S1 Circuit configuration Positive Pulse ο‚· S1 is ON (while charging SM ο‚· S1 and S2 switches are OFF. ο‚· S1 is OFF and S2 is ON (while capacitors of Arm1) and S2 is ο‚· Arm1 SMs are bypassed to charging SM capacitors of OFF. Arm2). provide a path for Arm2 ο‚· Arm1 SM capacitors are discharging SM capacitors. ο‚· Arm2 SM capacitors are inserted sequentially to re- ο‚· Negative pulse 𝑉𝑛𝑝 is formed inserted sequentially to recharge Arm1 SM capacitors, charge the individual Arm2 SM across the transformer primary each to Vs. capacitors to Vs. for a duration of 𝑑𝑛𝑝 . ο‚· All Arm2 SMs are idle*. ο‚· All Arm1 SMs are idle*. ο‚· To charge SMs of Arm1, the ο‚· To allow charging the SMs of first charging SM is inserted, Arm2, the first charging SM is then S1 is turned ON (hence, it inserted, then S2 is turned ON has ZVS). (hence, it has ZVS). ο‚· After charging the last SM, S1 ο‚· After charging the last SM, S2 is turned OFF safely since the turns OFF safely since the charging current is zero. charging current is zero. ο‚· During Arm1 SMs charging ο‚· During the Arm2 SMs charging duration 𝑑𝑝𝑐 the transformer duration 𝑑𝑛𝑐 the transformer primary voltage is nullified. primary voltage is nullified. *The idled arms eventually act as an open circuit since no current passes, as represented in the circuits outline. Sequence of operation ο‚· S1 and S2 switches are OFF. ο‚· Arm2 SMs are bypassed to provide a path for Arm1 discharging SM capacitors. ο‚· A Positive pulse of voltage peak 𝑉𝑝𝑝 is formed across the transformer primary for a duration of 𝑑𝑝𝑝 . The transformer leakage inductance limits the generated duration of the pulses, thus, the leakage should be measured in order to determine the allowable pulse duration range. Voltagesecond balance is assured for symmetrical bipolar pulses, however, asymmetrical pulses must maintain the voltagesecond balance (otherwise, the transformer core will accumulate flux and saturate). Thus, the following equation should be applied to determine the suitable pulse polarity magnitude and duration while assuring transformer voltagesecond balance 𝑉𝑝𝑝 𝑑𝑝𝑝 = 𝑉𝑛𝑝 𝑑𝑛𝑝 (1) where, 𝑉𝑝𝑝 and 𝑉𝑛𝑝 are the peak of the positive and negative pulse polarities while 𝑑𝑝𝑝 and 𝑑𝑛𝑝 are the corresponding pulse polarity durations, respectively (assuming rectangular pulses). Effectively, the generated pulses should be in the kilo-volt magnitude range (1-100 kV) with pulse durations between nanoseconds and milliseconds [10]; generally decreasing in duration as voltage increases. The water sample under treatment is modelled as an 𝑅 load when considering pulse durations of micro-seconds and above [11]. III. selection of π‘ŸπΏπΆπ‘ values is made such that the capacitor voltage has a smaller drop [11] while the input charging current has an 4𝐿 underdamped response, that is 𝐢𝑐 < 2 . Accordingly, the SM π‘Ÿ capacitor size is calculated from [11], 𝐢𝑐 = (2) where 𝛽 is the percentage remaining voltage on the SM capacitor after pulse generation and 𝑑𝑝𝑙 is the longest pulse polarity duration (i.e. the longest among 𝑑𝑝𝑝 and 𝑑𝑛𝑝 ). While the charging current is expressed as 𝛽𝑉𝑠 𝑖(𝑑) = π‘Ÿ 𝐿 π‘Ÿ2 βˆ’ ) 𝐢𝑐 4 𝑒 βˆ’2𝐿𝑑 π‘ π‘–π‘›βˆš (√ 1 π‘Ÿ2 βˆ’ 2𝑑 𝐿𝐢𝑐 4𝐿 (3) After re-charging the SM capacitor, the charging current is reduced to zero, 𝑖(𝑑𝑐 ) = 0, solving (3) for the charging time 𝑑𝑐 yields SIMULATION RESULTS The charging of the individual SM capacitors through the π‘ŸπΏ branch is based on a slightly underdamped response of the π‘ŸπΏπΆπ‘ circuit, hence, the SM capacitors have fast charging. Thus, the 2𝑁𝑑𝑝𝑙 (1 βˆ’ 𝛽 2 )𝑅 𝑑𝑐 = πœ‹ 1 π‘Ÿ2 √ βˆ’ 𝐿𝐢𝑐 4𝐿2 (4)

(4) The SM charging time, 𝑑𝑐 , is the control variable to determine the maximum possible repetition time provided by the PG, where 𝑇𝑠 = 2𝑁𝑑𝑐 + 𝑑𝑝𝑝 + 𝑑𝑛𝑝 (5) Voltage, kV Parameter Simulation LVDC input voltage Input inductance Number of SMs/arm Transformer turns ratio Load resistance SM capacitance SM charging time Percent remaining voltage 10 Primary voltage Load voltage 5 TABLE II SIMULATION AND EXPERIMENTAL SPECIFICATIONS 0 𝑉𝑠 π‘ŸπΏ 𝑁 𝑛 𝑅 𝐢𝑐 𝑑𝑐 𝛽 500 V 0.1Ω and 2Β΅H 5 4 2 kΩ 10 Β΅F 14 Β΅s Experimental 30 V 0.5Ω and 5Β΅H 3 3 1 kΩ 15 Β΅F 30 Β΅s > 0.95 -5 5 -10 0 0.5 1 Cycles 1.5 2 0 Voltage, kV (a) 510 505 -5 Voltage, V 500 495 -10 490 0 0.5 1 Cycles 1.5 2 1.5 2 (a) 485 10 480 0 0.5 1 Cycles 1.5 2 8 6 (b) 4 Voltage, kV 510 505 Voltage, V 500 2 0 -2 -4 -6 495 -8 490 -10 0 485 480 0 0.5 1 Cycles 1.5 2 (c) 20 0.5 1 cycles (b) Fig. 4. Generation of different bipolar pulse shapes whilst ensuring the transformer voltage-second balance constraint. (a) Combined null-load voltage duration bipolar pulses of 10Β΅s pulse durations and 10 kV peak. (b) Asymmetric bipolar pulses of 10Β΅s positive-pulse duration and 4 kV peak and 5Β΅s negative-pulse duration with 8 kV peak. Current, A 15 10 5 0 -5 0 0.5 1 Cycles 1.5 2 (d) Fig. 3. Generation of 10 kV peak, 10Β΅s bipolar pulses. (a) Voltage pulses across the transformer primary and the load. (b) Five SM capacitor voltages of the negative pulse, Arm1. (c) Five SM capacitor voltages of the positive pulse, Arm2. (d) Input charging current of the SM capacitors. Matlab/Simulink simulations are used to validate the proposed topology, with the specifications given in Table II. Bipolar rectangular pulses with positive and negative durations of 10Β΅s, voltage pulse peak of 10kV and repetition rate of 5 kHz are shown in Fig. 3a. In Fig. 3a, the primary voltage of the transformer is 2.5kV, which is the sum of the sequentially charged five SM capacitors, while the voltage across the load is 10kV, since the transformer has 𝑛 = 4. The capacitor voltages of Arm1 and Arm2 are shown in Figs. 3b and 3c, respectively, where each capacitor fluctuates around 500 V, with a voltage ripple lesser than 5%.

(5) The current flows from the LVDC supply to charge the individual SM capacitors during the charging period is shown in Fig. 3d. It can be seen that the current drops to zero after the SM capacitor re-charged to 500 V with charging time of 14Β΅s. The flexibility of the proposed PG is explored by generating asymmetrical bipolar pulses and combined null-load voltage durations pulses as in Fig. 4. Fig. 4a shows asymmetric bipolar pulse with a positive polarity peak of 4 kV and 10Β΅s duration, while the negative pulse polarity has an 8 kV peak and 5Β΅s duration. Moreover, combining the null-load voltage durations is explored in Fig. 4b with 10Β΅s pulse durations and 10 kV peak voltage. Zoomed view Ref Ref Primary voltage Secondary voltage Time: 50 Β΅s/div. Voltage: 100 V/div. Time: 50 Β΅s/div. Voltage: 40 V/div. (a) (b) Ref Ref Time: 250 Β΅s/div. Voltage: 10 V/div. Time: 50 Β΅s/div. Voltage: 40 V/div. (c) (d) Ref Time: 50 Β΅s/div. Current: 100 mA/div. (e) Fig. 5. Scaled-down experimental results of the proposed topology. (a) Primary and secondary voltage pulses of non-combined null-load voltage durations bipolar pulses. (b) Primary voltage pulses of non-combined null-load voltage durations bipolar pulses. (c) Primary voltage pulses of combined null-load voltage durations bipolar pulses. (d) Three individual SM capacitors voltage of Arm2. (e) Input charging current.

(6) IV. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS Although transformer leakage inductance is ignored in the simulations, its effect is seen in the experimental validation. To minimize transformer leakage inductance, the primary turns are wound over the secondary windings. Its experimentallydeduced value from the secondary side leakage inductance 𝐿𝑙 , which will be connected across the load, is 3.56 ΞΌH. Accordingly, for load resistance of 1 kΩ, the generated pulse will require βˆ†π‘‘ = 𝐿𝑙 ⁄𝑅 = 3.56 ns for each polarity to reach the required peak value. Thus, for proper operation, the pulse polarity duration time should be larger than βˆ†π‘‘. Consequently, microsecond pulse durations can be generated safely, which are targeted in this paper. The primary and secondary voltages of bipolar pulses with pulse polarity duration of 10ΞΌs and repetition time of 400ΞΌs, are shown in Fig. 5a. The voltage-peak of the generated pulses across the load is 300 V, since the transformer turns ratio is 3 and the primary voltage is 100V, as in Fig. 5a. The primary voltage of bipolar pulses with non-combined as well as combined null-load voltage durations and a peak voltage of 90V, are shown in Figs. 5b and 5c, respectively. Accordingly, each of the three individual SM capacitor voltages in the two MMC arms fluctuate around 33V as shown for Arm2 SMcapacitors in Fig. 5d. Finally, the charging input current is shown in Fig. 5e for the pulses in Fig. 5a. V. CONCLUSION This paper presented a new PG topology to generate HV bipolar pulses for disinfection in water treatment applications. The proposed PG is based on HB-MMC SMs which provide modularity and scalability of the topology. The individual SM capacitors are charged sequentially through reverse blocking semiconductor switches and an π‘ŸπΏ branch from a LVDC input supply. The selection of the π‘ŸπΏ branch is such that, during the sequential charging of the SM capacitors, the charging current has an underdamped response, therefore the capacitors charge fast. A step-up nano-crystalline core based transformer, with low leakage inductance, is connected across the load for pulsevoltage magnification. The proposed topology was assessed via simulations and scaled-down experimentation, which established the viability of the topology for water treatment application. ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work was supported by the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of the Qatar Foundation) under NPRP Grant (7203-2-097). The statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors. REFERENCES [1] Water Treatment Manual: Disinfection, Office of Environmental Enforcement, Environmental Protection Agency–EPA, Wexford, Ireland, 2011. [2] H. Bluhm, Pulsed power system: Principles and applications: Berlin: Springer, 2006. [3] J. Raso and V. Heinz, Pulsed electric fields technology for the food industry: Fundamentals and applications: New York ; London : Springer, 2006. [4] L. Lamy Rocha, J. F. Silva, and L. M. Redondo, "Multilevel high-voltage pulse generation based on a new modular solid-state switch," IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 42, pp. 2956-2961, Oct. 2014. [5] A. A. Elserougi, A. M. Massoud, and S. Ahmed, "Modular multilevel converter-based bipolar high-voltage pulse generator with sensorless capacitor voltage balancing technique," IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 44, pp. 1187-1194, 2016. [6] M. A. Elgenedy, A. Darwish, S. Ahmed, and B. W. Williams, "A modular multilevel-based high-voltage pulse generator for water disinfection applications," IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 44, pp. 2893-2900, 2016. [7] A. A. Elserougi, A. M. Massoud, and S. Ahmed, β€œA modular high-voltage pulse-generator with sequential charging for water treatment applications," IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 63, pp. 7898-7907, 2016. [8] A. A. Elserougi, I. Abdelsalam, A. M. Massoud, and S. Ahmed, β€œA fullbridge submodule-based modular unipolar/bipolar high-voltage pulse generator with sequential charging of capacitors,” IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. PP, pp. 1-9, 2016. [9] B. W. Williams, Power Electronics: Devices, Drivers, Applications, and Passive Components. London, U.K.: Macmillan, 1992. [10] K. H. Schoenbach, S. Katsuki, R. H. Stark, E. S. Buescher, and S. J. Beebe, "Bioelectrics-new applications for pulsed power technology," IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 30, pp. 293-300, 2002. [11] M. A. Elgenedy, A. Darwish, S. Ahmed, and B. W. Williams, "A transition arm modular multilevel universal pulse-waveform generator for electroporation applications," IEEE Trans. Power Electron., vol. PP, no. 99, pp. 1-1, 2017.


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