Lifetime Analysis of IGBT Power Modules in Passively Cooled Tidal Turbine Converters

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Abstract

Thermal cycling is one of the major reasons for failure in power electronic converters. For submerged tidal turbine converters investigating this failure mode is critical in improving the reliability, and minimizing the cost of energy from tidal turbines. This paper considers a submerged tidal turbine converter which is passively cooled by seawater, and where the turbine has fixed-pitch blades. In this respect, this study is different from similar studies on wind turbine converters, which are mostly cooled by active methods, and where turbines are mostly pitch controlled. The main goal is to quantify the impact of surface waves and turbulence in tidal stream velocity on the lifetime of the converter IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor) modules. The lifetime model of the IGBT modules is based on the accumulation of fatigue due to thermal cycling. Results indicate that turbulence and surface waves can have a significant impact on the lifetime of the IGBT modules. Furthermore, to accelerate the speed of the lifetime calculation, this paper uses a modified approach by dividing the thermal models into low and high frequency models. The final calculated lifetime values suggest that relying on passive cooling could be adequate for the tidal converters as far as thermal cycling is concerned.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1875
Number of pages22
JournalEnergies
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Active speed stall control
  • Insulated gate bipolar transistors
  • Lifetime estimation
  • Passive cooling
  • Submerged power electronics
  • Thermal cycling
  • Tidal turbines
  • Turbulence
  • Waves

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