Designing the Next Generation Distribution Transformers: New Power Electronic-based Hybrid and Solid-State Design Approaches

J.-S. Lai (USA)


Solid-state distribution transformer, universaltransformer, hybrid transformer


The advancement and availability of high-voltage semiconductor devices have shed a light on economically viable solid-state based or hybrid transformers for distribution systems. With incorporation of the solid-state technology into the distribution transformer, many new features can be realized through power electronics control and dc bus energy storage. This paper first defines these new features that largely enhance the functionality of distribution transformers. Two circuit topologies including a high-voltage device based multilevel and a hybrid approach that mixes with conventional transformer and solid-state circuitry are proposed. Simulation results are then showing how some of the key features can be achieved. Finally the cost of semiconductor is surveyed to project the cost of the entire solid-state distribution transformer. Given the cost figure modularity, there is a good chance for either hybrid or pure solid-state design approach to become the next generation distribution transformer.

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