Power Electronics and Control

Photovoltaics Power Electronics and Control

Power Electronics and Control

Curriculum 4

All photovoltaic generation systems are concerning power electronic converters and their control in order to create suitable electric energy links among the different systems involved in the energy conversion scheme. In fact, photovoltaic plants can be directly or indirectly connected to electric grids, storage systems, local loads, electrolyzes for (green) hydrogen production, electric vehicle charging stations, nitrogen liquefaction, etc. All these applications require voltage/current level adaption and/or an ac/dc conversion that can be performed only by power electronic converters with suitable modulation and control.

The PhD candidate will afford studies and improve knowledge related to the analysis, design, testing and control of the above-mentioned power electronic converters. A particular focus is addressed to circuitry and hardware, from power semiconductor devices to power converters and power processors topologies, modulation strategies and to control algorithms.

The power converters design and control require a certain number of basic skills, which will be given to all the student through the common part of the education plan. An interdisciplinary approach is also necessary to make the PhD candidate to have an overview of the technology. The principles of switching converters applied to electrical energy management, as well as the mathematical modeling of power electronic circuits and photovoltaic generators, play a key role for design of the power processor for photovoltaic applications. A solid background on circuit theory, dynamic systems and control theory is given in order to enable the PhD candidate to follow the project of power converters from the initial design up to optimization and verification tests on prototypes, in the view of industrialization and to arrive to final commercial products.

Studies on thermal modeling of power semiconductor devices and their cooling systems will also be covered, giving a multi-physics and multi-disciplinary overview that correlates electrical and thermal aspects, such as power losses and overtemperatures, key points for reliable and efficient converters.

The PhD candidate will also gain knowledge in the field of control theory and will apply control schemes to photovoltaic systems for electricity generation. Traditional and advanced algorithms for maximum power point tracking, as well as control schemes for grid-following and grid-forming inverters will be topics of interest for the PhD candidate. Particular emphasis will be given to the control issues related to photovoltaic generators in case of partial shading and slow- and fast-changing irradiance, together with temperature transients.

The topics of multilevel inverters, isolation converters, interleaved schemes, and innovative power semiconductors, such as Silicon Carbide (SiC) devices, will complete the PhD candidate knowledge in the field of the electricity power conversion applied to large photovoltaic generation systems.