Fast Reliability Assessment of Neutral-Point-Clamped Topologies through Markov Models

posted on 31.08.2020 by Sergio Busquets-Monge, Roya Rafiezadeh, Salvador Alepuz, Alber Filba-Martinez, Joan Nicolas-Apruzzese
This paper presents detailed Markov models for the reliability assessment of multilevel neutral-point-clamped (NPC) converter leg topologies, incorporating their inherent fault-tolerance under open-circuit switch faults. The Markov models are generated and discussed in detail for the three-level and four-level active NPC (ANPC) cases, while the presented methodology can be applied to easily generate the models for higher number of levels and for other topology variants. In addition, this paper also proposes an extremely fast calculation method to obtain the precise value of the system mean time to failure from any given formulated system Markov model. This method is then applied to quantitatively compare the reliability of two-level, three-level, and four-level ANPC legs under switch open-circuit-guaranteed faults and varying degrees of device paralleling. The comparison reveals that multilevel ANPC leg topologies inherently present a potential for a higher reliability than the conventional two-level leg, questioning the suitability of the traditional search for topologies with the minimum number of devices in order to improve reliability. Experimental results are presented to validate the fault-tolerance assumptions upon which the presented reliability models for the three-level and four-level ANPC legs are based.


Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad, Spain, under Grant DPI2017-89153-P (AEI/FEDER, UE)


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Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

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