The Essence of the Little Box Challenge-Part B: Hardware Demonstrators & Comparative Evaluations
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseIn Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
In order to expedite the development of power electronic systems towards higher power density and efficiency at a lower cost of implementation, Google and IEEE initiated the Google Little Box Challenge (GLBC) aiming for the worldwide smallest 2 kVA/450 VDC/230 VAC single-phase PV inverter with η > 95% CEC weighted efficiency and an air-cooled case temperature of less than 60 °C by using latest power semiconductor technology and innovative topological concepts. This paper, i.e. Part B of a discussion of The Essence of the Little Box Challenge, presents the hardware implementations and novel control concepts of two GaN-based inverter systems selected by the authors to counter the challenge: (i) Little Box 1.0 (LB 1.0), a H-bridge inverter with two interleaved bridge-legs both operated with Triangular Current Mode (TCM) modulation which features a power density of 8.18 kW/dm 3 (134 W/in 3 ) and a nominal efficiency of 96.4% and (ii) Little Box 2.0 (LB 2.0), an inverter topology with single bridgeleg DC/|AC| buck-stage operated with constant frequency PWM and a subsequent |AC|/AC H-bridge unfolder, which features a remarkable power density of 14.8 kW/dm 3 (243 W/in 3 ) and a nominal efficiency of 97.4% Implemented using latest GaN power semiconductor technology, Zero Voltage Switching (ZVS) throughout the AC period and a variable switching frequency in the range of 200 kHz-1 MHz in order to shrink the size of filter passives, the LB 1.0 was ranked among the top 10 out of 100+ teams actively participating in the GLBC. The LB 2.0 is the result of further research and considers lessons learned from the GLBC and achieves despite moderate 140 kHz constant frequency PWM and hard-switching around the peak of the AC output current a higher power density ρ and a higher efficiency η. For both implemented prototypes experimental results are provided to confirm that all GLBC technical requirements are met. The experimental results include steady-state and step-response waveforms, EMI and ground current measurements, as well as efficiency and operating temperature measurements. The reason for the ηρ-performance improvement of LB 2.0 over LB 1.0 are then discussed in detail. Furthermore, the solutions of other GLBC finalists are described and then compared to the performance achieved with the hardware prototypes presented in this paper. This leads to findings of general importance and provides key guideline for the future development of ultracompact power electronic converters. Show more
Journal / seriesCPSS Transactions on Power Electronics and Applications
Pages / Article No.
PublisherChina Power Supply Society
SubjectGaN; High power density; Little box challenge; Microinverter; Power pulsation buffer; PV inverter; WBG; Zero voltage switching
Organisational unit03573 - Kolar, Johann W. / Kolar, Johann W.
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