(19)
(11)EP 2 830 995 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
10.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/24

(21)Application number: 13715506.5

(22)Date of filing:  19.03.2013
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H02M 7/48(2007.01)
H02M 3/335(2006.01)
H02M 1/36(2007.01)
H02M 5/458(2006.01)
H02M 1/32(2007.01)
C01B 13/11(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2013/032920
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/148410 (03.10.2013 Gazette  2013/40)

(54)

COMPACT, CONFIGURABLE POWER SUPPLY FOR ENERGIZING OZONE-PRODUCING CELLS

KOMPAKTES UND KONFIGURIERBARES NETZTEIL ZUR SPANNUNGSVERSORGUNG OZONPRODUZIERENDER ZELLEN

ALIMENTATION ÉLECTRIQUE COMPACTE CONFIGURABLE POUR EXCITER DES CELLULES DE PRODUCTION D'OZONE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 28.03.2012 US 201213432415

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.02.2015 Bulletin 2015/06

(73)Proprietor: MKS Instruments, Inc.
Andover, MA 01810 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • TRAN, Ken
    North Chelmsford, MA 01863 (US)
  • TIAN, Feng
    Salem, NH 03079 (US)
  • CHEN, Xing
    Lexington, MA 02421 (US)
  • LEE, Franklin
    Framingham, MA 01701 (US)

(74)Representative: CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP 
Cannon Place 78 Cannon Street
London EC4N 6AF
London EC4N 6AF (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 1 708 351
WO-A1-2007/035216
  
  • ORDIZ C ET AL: "Development of a high-voltage closed-loop power supply for ozone generation", APPLIED POWER ELECTRONICS CONFERENCE AND EXPOSITION, 2008. APEC 2008. TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL IEEE, IEEE, PISCATAWAY, NJ, USA, 24 February 2008 (2008-02-24), pages 1861-1867, XP031253506, ISBN: 978-1-4244-1873-2
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] This application relates generally to power conversion and more particularly to power conversion for igniting plasma in a reactive gas generator.

BACKGROUND



[0002] Ozone is useful for numerous applications that require a high level of oxidation. For example, ozone is useful for disinfection of drinking water and has been used for water treatment since the early 1900's. More recently, ozone has been used for semiconductor device processing. One application for ozone in semiconductor device processing is forming insulating layers on semiconductor wafers by growing insulating films or by oxidizing thin films on the wafer, for example, high deposition rate chemical vapor deposition of high quality SiO2 can be accomplished by using a TEOS/ozone processor.

[0003] Another application for ozone in semiconductor device processing is for cleaning semiconductor wafers and equipment. Ozone is particularly useful for removing hydrocarbons from the surface of semiconductor wavers or from processing chambers. Using ozone for cleaning is advantageous because it avoids the use of dangerous chemicals, which require costly disposal. In contrast, ozone does not present a toxic waste disposal problem because ozone decays to oxygen without residues.

[0004] An ozone generator includes one or more individual ozone generating units, also referred to herein as ozone-producing cells. Each ozone-producing cell typically includes opposing electrode plates and a dielectric barrier. The dielectric barrier can be positioned against one of the electrode plates, forming a channel between the dielectric barrier and the opposing electrode plate. In operation, oxygen (O2) is provided to the cell and allowed to pass through the channel, whereupon it is acted upon by an electrical discharge between the electrode plates causing the dissolution and recombination of at least a portion of the oxygen atoms into ozone (O3) molecules.

[0005] To cause the electrical discharge or flux (i.e., ignite a plasma), high voltage AC power is applied across the opposing electrode plates of each ozone-producing cell. It has been determined that applying an AC load voltage of about 8 kilovolts, peak-to-peak at a relatively high frequency of between about 30 kHz and about 40 kHz is preferred for operation of at least some such ozone-producing cells. Since most applications derive such cell driving voltages from facility prime power, the ozone cell power system necessarily increases or otherwise steps up the voltage level from a facility power level (e.g., 208 volt AC, or 480 volt AC three-phase power). Additionally, the power system necessarily increases the frequency from a relatively low value of the facility supplied power (e.g., 50/60 Hz) to a relatively high value of the preferred frequency of operation.

[0006] The ozone-producing cell can be modeled as a capacitor in parallel with a series combination of a resistor and a bi-polar transient voltage suppressor. Application of electrical power can be hampered by the relatively large reactive load impedance resulting from the capacitor of the ozone cell. Electrical loads having such large reactive components tend to result in substantial heat loss and otherwise stress components of the power supply. Such components operate at increased power levels necessary to deliver suitable usable power (i.e., not reactive) to the load.

[0007] WO2007/035216 teaches a resonant power supply for ozone generation. The power supply reduces costs and increases reliability of ozone generators. The power supply provides a first AC voltage from a power source to a resonant circuit and the resonant circuit provides a second AC voltage to the ozone generating unit, the second AC voltage being greater than the first AC voltage. A controller for the power supply that adapts to the resonance of the circuit to provide control with a wide tolerance for the high Q circuit component values of the circuit.

[0008] The publication "Development of a high-voltage closed-loop power supply for ozone generation", C. Ordiz et al., APEC 2008, twenty-third annual IEEE, IEEE Piscataway, NJ, USA, 24 February 2008, discloses a power stage for an ozone generator. The power stages comprise a buck converter and a current-fed parallel resonant push-pull inverter. Output voltage and power of the inverter can be regulated by the buck converter by varying the input voltage to the inverter.

SUMMARY



[0009] It would be desirable to provide a compact power system configured for efficiently providing power to one or more ozone-producing cells. Furthermore, in either instance, it would be desirable to achieve flexibility in having a common such compact power system that is easily adjustable or otherwise configurable for ozone-producing applications requiring different power requirements. Still further, it would be desirable to provide an increased measure of protection to such power systems during initialization to protect against damage that might otherwise result from uncontrolled inrush current.

[0010] Described herein are devices and techniques to attain one or more of reducing a size of a power system for supplying power to one or more ozone-producing cells, providing flexibility in adjusting such power systems for different power ratings, and providing in-rush current protection.
According to aspects of the present invention there is provided a converter and method as defined in the accompanying claims.

[0011] In one aspect, at least one embodiment described herein provides a process for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell. The process includes receiving an unregulated DC voltage, switching the unregulated DC voltage at a first switching frequency, and converting the switched DC voltage to a regulated, DC high-voltage, substantially greater than the unregulated DC voltage. The process further includes switching the DC high-voltage at a second switching frequency within a preferred operating frequency range of the at least one ozone-producing cell and coupling the switched DC high-voltage to the at least one ozone-producing cell through a series inductance. The series inductance forms together with an internal capacitance of the at least one ozone-producing cell, a resonance adapted to subject the at least one ozone-producing cell to a narrow-band, AC high-voltage within the preferred operating frequency range of the ozone-producing cell.

[0012] In another aspect, at least one embodiment described herein provides a power converter for energizing at least one ozone-producing cell. The power converter includes a DC-to-DC converter having an input configured to receive an unregulated DC voltage and an output configured to provide a regulated DC high voltage derived from the unregulated DC voltage. In particular, the DC high voltage has an amplitude substantially greater than an amplitude of the unregulated DC voltage. The power converter also includes a high-frequency power inverter having an input in communication with the output of the DC-to-DC converter. The high-frequency power inverter is configured to provide at an output a high-frequency AC voltage derived from the DC high voltage. A series inductance is coupled between the output of the high-frequency power inverter and at least one ozone-producing cell. The series inductance forms, together with an internal capacitance of the at least one ozone-producing cell, a resonance in the high-frequency AC voltage occurring within a preferred operating frequency range of the at least one ozone-producing cell.

[0013] In at least some embodiments, the power converter includes a first controller having a sensing input receiving an indication of the DC high voltage output of the DC-to-DC converter, a reference input configured to receive an indication of a target DC high voltage, and a controlling output in communication with the DC-to-DC converter. The first controller is configured to adjust operation of the DC-to-DC converter responsive to the target DC high voltage and an indication of the DC high-voltage received at the sensing input. The power converter also includes a second controller having a sensing input configured to receive an output indication of at least one of a load voltage and a load current supplied to the at least one ozone-producing cell, a reference power input configured to receive an indication of operating load power, and a controlling output in communication with the high frequency power inverter. The second controller is configured to adjust operation of the high-frequency power inverter responsive to the received indication of operating load power and an indication of the at least one of the load voltage and the load current.

[0014] In another aspect, at least one embodiment described herein provides a process for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell. The process includes converting an unregulated DC voltage to a regulated DC high voltage having an amplitude substantially greater than an amplitude of the unregulated DC voltage. Conversion of the unregulated DC voltage to the regulated DC high voltage is controlled responsive to a DC high voltage reference input. The DC high voltage is converted to a high-frequency AC voltage. Conversion of the DC high voltage to the high-frequency AC voltage is controlled responsive to a load power reference input, such that electrical power delivered by the high-frequency AC voltage, when applied through a series inductance to at least one ozone-producing cell, corresponds to the load power reference input.

[0015] In another aspect, at least one embodiment described herein provides a power converter for powering at least one ozone-producing cell. The power converter includes a rectifier configured to rectify an AC input voltage and a bus capacitor coupled in parallel to the rectifier. The bus capacitor is configured to develop an unregulated DC voltage in response to rectified AC input voltage. The power converter also includes first and second sensors and a power converter coupled to the bus capacitor and configured to produce a high-frequency AC output voltage in response to the unregulated DC voltage, when coupled to at least one ozone-producing cell. The first sensor is configured to measure a voltage across the bus capacitor, and the second sensor is configured to measure a current between the rectifier and the bus capacitor. The power converter further includes a controllable current-limiting resistance coupled between the rectifier and the bus capacitor. The controllable current limiting resistance is also in communication with each of the first and second sensors and configured to provide a current limiting resistance during initialization and a substantial short circuit once initialized.

[0016] In yet another aspect, at least one embodiment described herein provides a process for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell. The process includes rectifying an AC input voltage, charging by the rectified AC input voltage a bus capacitor to a DC operating voltage, and converting the DC operating voltage to a high-frequency AC voltage when applied to at least one ozone-producing cell. The process further includes differentiating between an initialization state of the bus capacitor and an initialized state of the bus capacitor, and varying a series resistance in response to the measured voltage and current. The series resistance limits current to the bus capacitor during initialization, otherwise allowing unrestricted current when initialized.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0017] The present disclosure is further described in the detailed description which follows, in reference to the noted plurality of drawings by way of non-limiting examples of embodiments of the present disclosure, in which like reference numerals represent similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings, and wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a schematic diagram of a comparative example of a compact ozone power system with inrush current protection;

FIG. 2 shows a more detailed schematic diagram of an embodiment of a DC-to-DC power converter of the compact ozone power system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows a more detailed schematic diagram of an embodiment of a power inverter and tank circuit of the compact ozone power system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 shows a schematic diagram of a modular ozone power system in accordance with claim 1;

FIG. 5 shows a flow diagram of an embodiment of a process for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell;

FIG. 6 shows a flow diagram of an embodiment of a process for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell;

FIG. 7 shows a flow diagram of another embodiment of a process for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell;

FIG. 8A shows a diagrammatic block diagram of an example of a feedback control loop associated with the first controller illustrated in FIG. 4 and in accordance with claim 1;

FIG. 8B shows a diagrammatic block diagram of a comparative example of a feedback control loop associated with the second controller illustrated in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 8C shows a diagrammatic block diagram of an example of an alternative embodiment of a feedback control loop associated with the second controller illustrated in FIG. 4 and in accordance with claim 1.


DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS



[0018] In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to accompanying drawings, which form a part thereof, and within which are shown by way of illustration, specific embodiments, by which the disclosure may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the disclosure.

[0019] The particulars shown herein are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the embodiments of the present disclosure only and are presented in the case of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the present disclosure. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the present disclosure in more detail than is necessary for the fundamental understanding of the present disclosure, the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in that how the several forms of the present disclosure may be embodied in practice. Further, like reference numbers and designations in the various drawings indicate like elements.

[0020] Described herein are devices and techniques for providing power to at least one ozone-producing cell.

[0021] A schematic diagram of a comparative example of a compact ozone power system 100 is illustrated in FIG. 1. In general, the power system 100 receives electrical power from an external power source 102, such as facility-provided power mains, and converts the externally supplied power to a load power 104, suitable for operating one or more reactive gas generators, such as ozone-producing cells 106. For example, the external power source 102 can be utility-provided 50/60 Hz, 208 Volt, three-phase AC power (e.g., having LINE A, LINE B, LINE C and a ground or EARTH reference). As such utility provided power may vary from time to time, the power system 100 is preferably adapted to provide an intended load power under variations in the eternal source 102, for example, ranging from about +/-10% (e.g., from about 180 to about 230 volts AC). The power system 100 can be configured to accommodate other power mains, such as 480 Volt AC, similarly operating over a specified range about the nominal voltage of 480 volts AC (e.g., from about 430 to about 530 volts AC).

[0022] In general the external power source 102 and the converted power supplied to the ozone-producing cells 106 can have any of various voltages, currents and frequencies, depending upon the external power 102 and requirements of the cells 106. In at least some embodiments, electrical load power 104 supplied to the ozone-producing cell 106 includes a peak-to-peak AC voltage of about 8 kilovolts, at a frequency of between about 20 kHz and about 40 kHz. It is understood that different voltages and frequencies can be supplied as may be appropriate for operating one or more ozone-producing cells.

[0023] For applications in which externally supplied power 102 is AC, the power system 100 includes a rectifier module 108 for first converting the externally supplied AC power to DC. In the illustrative example in which the externally supplied power 102 is three-phase AC, the power system 100 includes a three-phase rectifier module 108 for receiving the input AC power 102 and providing a rectified output 110. The rectified output 110 is coupled across a filter capacitor, also referred to as a bus capacitor CB, configured to smooth the rectified output 110 to more closely approximate a DC voltage for powering a DC bus 112. In the illustrative example, the DC bus 112 is unregulated, operating at a relatively low-voltage in comparison to other portions of the power system 100.

[0024] Although not shown, it is understood that a front end of the power system 100, including the rectifier 108 and bus capacitor CB, can also include one or more main AC fuses (not shown), e.g., one for each line to protect against catastrophic failure during any abnormal operations, and an electromagnetic interference (EMI) filter (also not shown). Such EMI filters are commonly provided in electronic circuitry, for example, to prevent any would be electrical interference generated by the power system 100 from being conducted back onto the power mains 102. Still further, it is understood that the power system 100 can include one or more biasing power supplies (not shown), as may be useful in powering electronic circuitry used in operation of the power system 100. Such biasing power supplies can be powered by the input power mains 102, including one, two or all three legs for three-phase power 102. In particular, by connecting the bias power 102 directly to all three legs of three-phase power 102, the need for a bulky hold-up capacitor as would otherwise be required to accommodate Semi-F47 events is alleviated. Alternatively or in addition, such a biasing power supply can be powered by the DC bus 112.

[0025] The power system 100 also includes at least one power converter 114 having an input coupled to the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112. In at least some embodiments, the power converter can be configured as a DC-to-DC converter, providing an output that is also a DC voltage, but having a different value from the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112. For example, the power converter 114 can be configured to step up (i.e., increase) the relatively low voltage of the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112 to a relatively high, regulated DC voltage. An output of the power converter 114 can be coupled to a high-voltage, regulated DC bus 116. Since ozone producing cells 106 generally require an operating voltage that is substantially greater than that supplied by the power mains 102, any increase provided by the power converter 114 is helpful in meeting the load requirements and in relaxing design constraints of a back end portion of the power system 100. In at least some embodiments, a voltage of the regulated DC bus 116 is substantially greater than a voltage of the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112 (e.g., between about 200-350 volts DC). Example operating voltages VHV_DC of the high-voltage, regulated DC bus 116 can be between about 1 kilovolt and about 2 kilovolts or greater.

[0026] The power system 100 further includes a power inverter 118, with an input coupled to the high-voltage, regulated DC bus 116. The power inverter 118 converts a voltage of the high-voltage, regulated DC bus 116 into a relatively high-frequency AC output voltage 120. The relatively high-frequency AC output 120 is coupled to a resonant or tank circuit 122, formed by at least one resonant series inductor LR and the one or more ozone-producing cells 106. The series inductance LR, together with an internal capacitance of the one or more ozone-producing cells 106, forms a resonance in the high-frequency AC voltage occurring within a preferred operating frequency range of the at least one ozone-producing cell. A resonant frequency f0 of a series L-C resonator as can be formed by the series inductance LR and the internal capacitance CEQ (not shown) of the ozone-producing cells 106 can be expressed as



[0027] In at least some embodiments, relatively high-frequency AC output 120 VHV_AC approximates a square wave, for example, resulting from switching operation of the power inverter 118. The resonance of the tank circuit 122 can be adjusted by selecting an inductance of the series inductor LR that in combination with the equivalent internal capacitance CEQ of the one or more ozone-producing cells 106, to establish a resonant frequency f0 and to determine a corresponding quality factor, or "Q." By filtering the relatively high voltage AC output 120 of the power inverter 118 (e.g., a switched 1 or 2 kilovolt rectangular wave), it is possible to operate with a tank circuit 122 having a Q of less than about 5. In some embodiments, a Q of about 3 or 4 can be sufficient. Selectivity of the tank circuit 122 represented by the Q value, can reject certain portions of a frequency spectrum of the approximate square wave AC output 120. Thus, by suitable adjustment of a switching frequency of the power inverter 118 and a resonant or center frequency f0 and Q of the tank circuit 122, it is possible to produce a substantially sinusoidal AC voltage VO, for delivery to the one or more ozone-producing cells 106. For example, the power inverter 118 in combination with the tank circuit 122 can produce a sine wave having a frequency of between about 20 kHz and about 40 kHz, and a voltage amplitude of about 8 kilovolts peak-to-peak, in response to a 1 kilovolt DC input.

[0028] In at least some embodiments, the tank circuit 122 is further tuned to reduce a reactive power component. For example, the inductance value of the series inductance LR can be selected, such that a series reactance of the inductor LR, effectively cancels a reactance of an equivalence series capacitance of the one or more ozone-producing cells 106 within an intended frequency operating range (e.g., between about 20 kHz and about 40 kHz). It is generally desirable, however, for the compact ozone power system 100 to accommodate a variable number of ozone-producing cells 106, sometimes referred to as an ozone-producing cell "stack." Accordingly, an equivalent internal capacitance CEQ of the one or more ozone-producing cells 106 depends upon the particular number of ozone-producing cells 106 combined in a given cell stack.

[0029] An equivalent capacitance of such a stack of ozone-producing cells 106 can be determined, for example, as a parallel combination of the individual equivalent capacitance of each ozone-producing cell 106 in the stack. There will typically be some maximum number of cells 106 that the power system 100 can accommodate. For example, an equivalence capacitive load of an example ozone cell is about 1 nanofarad. A 5 kilowatt power system 100 can power up to about fourteen such ozone cells. A determination of such a maximum number of cells 104, while knowing the equivalent internal capacitance of each cell 106 (e.g., about 1 nF), allows for determination of an estimate of an equivalent internal capacitance for a cell stack having the maximum number of cells. Thus, the series inductance LR can be selected based on such a maximum equivalent internal capacitance CEQ_MAX to effectively cancel, or otherwise minimize reactive power component at the ozone-producing cell 106 stack.

[0030] In at least some embodiments, the tank circuit 122 includes a selectable shunt capacitance CR provided in parallel with the one or more ozone-producing cells 106. In at least some embodiments, the capacitance value of capacitor CR can be chosen to compensate for variations in a number of ozone-producing cells 106 in a particular stack. For example, a capacitance value of the shunt capacitor CR can be chosen such that within an operating frequency range, a reactive load is approximately equal to the difference between the reactive load of the maximum number of ozone-producing cells 106 that the power system 100 can accommodate and a reactive load of the one or more ozone-producing cells 106 of the particular stack. Thus, a combination of the reactance of capacitor CR and the equivalent internal capacitors CEQ of the particular configuration of ozone-producing cells 106 can be maintained at approximately the same value, namely the maximum capacitance value CEQ_MAX. Selection of the series inductor LR can be chosen to effectively cancel the capacitive reactance of the combination of the shunt capacitor CR and the equivalent internal capacitance CEQ of the ozone-producing cells 106.

[0031] In more detail, at least one approach for implementing a DC-to-DC converter 114 is illustrated in FIG. 2. The DC-to-DC converter 114 includes a power inverter 124 for converting the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112 into an alternating current (AC) by switching DC from the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112. An example of such an inverter 124 includes one or more switching, and control circuits that can be used to control a frequency of the switched DC (i.e., AC) voltage.

[0032] In at least some embodiments, the inverter 124 includes solid-state switching elements. The switched output of the inverter 124 can take various waveforms, such as a square wave, a modified sine wave and a pure sine wave. The inverter 124 can also take on various topologies. One such topology is known as a full-bridge or H-bridge inverter circuit, as shown. The full bridge circuit includes at least four semiconductor switches SA, SB, SC, SD and anti-parallel diodes DA, DB, DC, DD. The input from the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112 is applied to a first opposing pair of terminals of the bridge (i.e., the top and bottom terminals), as shown. An AC output is obtained from a second opposing pair of terminals 126 of the bridge, as also shown. Each of the semiconductor switches SA, SB, SC, SD can be controlled by a respective control input terminal 128. In at least some embodiments, each semiconductor switches SA, SB, SC, SD is connected in parallel with a respective one of the diodes DA, DB, DC, DD. Thus, control of each switching element determines whether the respective diode is effectively "in" (switch open) or "out" (switch closed) of the bridge.

[0033] In at least some embodiments, a square wave AC rendition of the switched DC waveform described above can be obtained by pulse-width modulation (PWM) of one or more of the semiconductor switches SA, SB, SC, SD of the inverter 124. Modulating, or regulating a width of a square-wave pulse by control of the control input terminals 128 can be used as a method of regulating or adjusting an inverter's output voltage. Such regulation is advantageous in maintaining delivery of DC under variations in one or more of source power 102 (FIG. 1) or load conditions.

[0034] Once converted to AC, the voltage level can be altered to virtually any desired voltage level by the use of a transformer. The illustrative DC-to-DC converter 114 includes such a transformer 130 having a primary winding 131a in communication with load terminals 126 of the inverter 124, driven by the switched DC voltage. A DC-blocking capacitor C1 can be included in some embodiments, between one of the load terminals 126 and the transformer 130. In the illustrative example, the primary winding 131a of the transformer 130 has a respective number of turns about a magnetic core, and a secondary 131b winding also has a respective number of turns about the magnetic core. The magnitude of the output voltage can be determined, at least in part, by a ratio of the number of turns of the secondary winding 131b to the primary winding 131a. Thus, an output of the transformer obtained at the secondary winding 131b can be a high-voltage, or stepped-up rendition of the input obtained from the inverter 124. Beneficially, the transformer 130 also isolates a load, such as the one or more ozone-producing cells 106, from the external power source 102.

[0035] A physical size of magnetic elements of the power system 100, such as those used in the core of the transformer 130 is generally inversely proportional to a frequency of operation. Thus, the size of the transformer 130 of the DC-to-DC converter 114 can be reduced by operating the semiconductor switches SA, SB, SC, SD of the full-wave inverter 124 at a relatively high frequency (e.g., as high as practical). In at least some embodiments, the semiconductor switches SA, SB, SC, SD are operated at frequencies approaching a maximum switching frequency of the underlying semiconductor technology. For example, MOSFET switches can be operated at switching frequencies between about 300 kHz and about 600 kHz. As advances to semiconductor switching technologies allow for greater switching frequencies, such semiconductor switches can be applied to the circuits described herein, and in particular to power inverter circuits, such as the power converter 114, to allow for even greater switching frequency of operation to allow for further reduction in size for any magnetic components, such as the step-up transformer 130.

[0036] Other input power levels can be accommodated with the same system architecture described herein, or with minor modifications, depending upon the particular input power. For example, a 480 volt input application can be accommodated by reducing a turns ratio of the high-frequency transformer 130 to about half that used for a 208 volt input application. Additionally, some components, such as the switches SA, SB, SC, SD and the diodes DA, DB, DC, DD (FIG. 2) can be replaced, as necessary, with components having suitable voltage and/or current ratings. Once again, for a 480 volt input application, the switches and diodes of a 208 volt example embodiment can be replaced with higher voltage rating switches and diodes, preferably having the same footprint. Alternatively or in addition, rectifier diodes within the three-phase rectifier module 108 (FIG. 1) can also be replaced with higher voltage rated diodes, preferably having the same footprint. With such an approach, the rest of the circuit can generally be the same, regardless of input voltage.

[0037] It should be noted that switching at higher frequencies (e.g., 300-600 kHz or higher) also alleviates requirements on other components of the power system 100, such as any EMI power-line filters that might be included as described above. At least one class of semiconductor devices capable of switching at even greater frequencies is silicon carbide. Thus, it is understood that other high frequency semiconductor switching devices, such as silicon carbide devices, can be used to implement the switched SA, SB, SC, SD to of the power inverter 124 to support even greater switching frequencies, allowing for even further reductions in the size of certain circuit components of the power converter 114. Beneficially, such reductions in one or more of component size, weight and heat loss realized by application of the various techniques described herein lend themselves to the construction of smaller, lighter, and more efficient power systems. In at least some embodiments, such power systems can be configured using no more than about one printed circuit board, or module. Such simplification realized by reducing the number of circuit boards or modules thereby reducing one or more of the power system's cost and complexity, while improving reliability. For example, a single board or module configuration precludes or otherwise minimizes the need for interconnecting cables or cable harnesses between multiple modules.

[0038] The stepped-up AC can be converted once again to a direct current, for example, by a rectifier 132, configured to rectify the AC of the secondary winding of the transformer 130, as shown. Such a rectifier 132 can be a half-wave rectifier, or a full-wave rectifier. The rectified AC output of the step-up transformer 130 can be filtered, for example, by one or more of a series inductor LO and a shunt capacitor CO, to smooth the stepped-up DC output. Thus, an output of the power converter in response to the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 112 input, powers a relatively high-voltage, regulated DC bus 116. For the 208 VAC input to the power system 100 described in the illustrative example of FIG. 1, the high-voltage DC bus 114 can have a value of at least about 1 kilovolts DC. Raising the relatively low-voltage DC bus (e.g., 200-350 volts DC) to a higher voltage (e.g., 1 kV) in this manner, also allows a tank circuit 122 (FIG. 1) having a relatively low "Q" (e.g., less than about 5) to sufficiently filter the square wave AC output 120 of the power inverter 118 (FIG. 1) to operate the one or more ozone-producing cells 106. Regulation of the supplied high-voltage DC bus 116 can be accomplished with one or more feedback control loops. For example, a measure of the high-voltage DC output voltage VHV can be provided to a control loop adapted to adjust operation of the full-bridge converter 114 to maintain the high-voltage DC output voltage within a tolerance (e.g., +/- 10%) over a range of electrical loads (e.g., no load to full load). Operation of such a feedback control loop is described in more detail below.

[0039] In at least some embodiments, the power inverter 118 includes a relatively high-voltage half-bridge inverter, as illustrated in FIG. 3. For example, the power inverter 118 can be adapted to switch the relatively high-voltage DC bus 116. The power inverter 118 can be similar to the power inverter 124 of the DC-to-DC converter 114 (FIG. 1), at least with respect to the use and control of semiconductor switching elements SE, SF each shunting a respective diode DE, DF, as shown. Preferably, the switching elements SE, SF of the power inverter 118 can be operated to produce a square wave having a frequency corresponding to a preferred operating frequency of the at least one ozone-producing cells 106. For example, a fundamental frequency of a square wave output of the power inverter 118 can be between about 20 kHz and about 40 kHz.

[0040] Referring next to FIG. 4, a schematic diagram of the claimed embodiment of a modular ozone power system 200 is illustrated. Once again, the power system 200 receives electrical power from an external source 202, such as facility-provided power mains and converts the externally supplied power 202 to an electrical load power VOUT, suitable for operating one or more ozone-producing cells 206. For applications in which facility supplied power 202 is AC, the power system 200 first includes a rectifier 208 for converting facility supplied AC to a DC voltage. The rectified output 208 is coupled across a filter capacitor, also referred to as a bus capacitor CB. A voltage across the bus capacitor CB powers a DC bus 212.

[0041] The power system 200 also includes at least one power converter 214 having an input coupled to the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 212. In at least some embodiments, the power converter 214 is configured as a DC-to-DC converter, providing an output that is also a DC voltage, but having a different value from the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 212. For example, the power converter 214 can be configured to step up (i.e., increase) the relatively low voltage of the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 212 to a relatively high, regulated DC voltage. An output of the power converter 214 can be coupled to a high-voltage, regulated DC bus 216. In at least some embodiments, a voltage of the regulate DC bus 216 is substantially greater than a voltage of the low-voltage, unregulated DC bus 212.

[0042] In at least some embodiments, the power system 200 further includes a power inverter 218, with an input coupled to the high-voltage, regulated DC bus 216. The power inverter 218 converts a voltage of the high-voltage, regulated DC bus 216 into a relatively high-frequency AC output 220. The relatively high-frequency AC output 220 is coupled to a resonant or tank circuit 222, formed by at least one resonant series inductor LR and the one or more ozone-producing cells 206. The series inductance LR forms, together with an internal capacitance of the one or more ozone-producing cells 206, a resonance in the high-frequency AC voltage. Preferably, the resonance f0 occurs within a preferred operating frequency range of the at least one ozone-producing cell 206.

[0043] In at least some embodiments, the DC-to-DC converter 214 is substantially the same as illustrated and described above in relation to FIG. 2, having a controllable full-bridge power inverter. Similarly, in at least some embodiments, the power inverter 218 is substantially the same as illustrated and described above in relation to FIG. 3, having a controllable half-bridge power inverter. In at least some embodiments, the power system 200 includes a first controller 230 in communication with the DC-to-DC converter 214. The first controller 230 senses one or more electrical values 232 associated with the DC-to-DC converter 214. For example, the first controller 230 can receive from the DC-to-DC converter 214, one or more of an inverter current IINV (see FIG. 2), a high-voltage DC output VHV and an output current IHV. In response thereto, the first controller 230 can provide switching control signals 228 to the one or more switches SA, SB, SC, SD of the full bridge power inverter of the DC-to-DC converter 214. For example, the first controller 230 can include a phase-shift pulse width modulator that implements control of a full-bridge power stage by phase shifting the switching of one half-bridge with respect to the other. An example of such a device that can operate as either a voltage-mode or a current-mode controller, is part no. UCC3895, commercially available from Texas Instruments of Dallas, TX. One particular form of switching is referred to as a modified phase-shift zero voltage switch (ZVS) pulse-width modulation (PWM) switching.

[0044] The power system 200 also includes a second controller 240 in communication with the power inverter 218. The second controller 240 senses one or more electrical values 242 associated with the power inverter 218. For example, the second controller 240 can receive from power inverter 218, an output current IOUT (see FIG. 3), the high-frequency AC output VINV 220. In response thereto, the second controller 240 can provide switching control signals 238 to one or more of the switches of the half bridge of the inverter 218. For example, the second controller 240 can also include a phase-shift, pulse width modulator that implements control of a half-bridge power stage by phase shifting the switching of one half-bridge. In at least some embodiments, part no. NCP1395, commercially available from On Semiconductor, San Jose, CA, can be used in the second controller 240.

[0045] In at least some embodiments, at least one of the first and second controllers 230, 240 receives an external control input. For example, the second controller 240 has an input 241 for receiving a load power adjust setting (e.g., at a predetermined kilowatt rating, according to a particular application). Such a setting can be accomplished by a user-adjustable control, such as a knob, or by a configuration setting, such as an internal adjustment accomplished during an initial configuration or reconfiguration of the power system 200. In the illustrative embodiments, such an input can accommodate power ranging from less than about 1 kW up to 5 kW or greater. In the illustrative embodiment, the second controller 240 optionally provides an input 231 (shown in phantom) to the first controller 230. For example, a user-selected setting of the load power adjustment of the second controller 230 sets a power value delivered to the load (e.g., the one or more ozone-producing cells 206). In combination, the second controller provides an input to the first controller 230 resulting in variation of the DC high voltage bus in response to the user adjusted load power. Namely, a lower load power setting can be used to reduce a voltage level of the DC high voltage bus 216, such features allow for conservation of power and reduction of unnecessary wear and tear on components of the system.

[0046] FIG. 5 illustrates a flow diagram of an embodiment of a process 300 for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell. An unregulated DC voltage is received at 305. For example, the unregulated voltage can be received from a filtered output of a rectifier module 108, such as is provided in the power system 100 illustrated in FIG. 1. The unregulated DC is switched at an extremely high switching frequency at 310. For example, the unregulated DC is applied to a full-bridge power inverter, such as the full-bridge power inverter 124 illustrated in FIG. 2. The switched DC is converted to regulated DC high-voltage at 315. Such an increase in the DC voltage level can be accomplished, for example, by the step-up transformer 130 of the power converter 114 illustrated in FIG. 2. Regulation of the high-voltage DC can also be accomplished by adjusting switching control signals 128 from a power converter controller, such as the first controller 230 illustrated in FIG. 4. Thus, regulation of the DC high-voltage can be accomplished under a range of load conditions and under variations in source power 102. The high-voltage DC is switched at 320 at an ozone-producing cell preferred switching frequency. As described herein, such a preferred frequency is known to exist between about 20 kHz and about 40 kHz. Such switching can be accomplished by the power inverter 118, 218 (FIGs. 1 and 3). The switched high-voltage DC (e.g., a high-frequency square wave) is coupled at 325 to one or more ozone-producing cells 106 through a series inductor LR forming tank circuit with the one or more ozone-producing cells.

[0047] Referring once again to FIG. 1, at least some embodiments of the power system 100 include inrush current protection circuitry 140. In the illustrative example, the inrush current protection circuitry 140 includes a series resistance provided by a positive temperature coefficient thermistor, RPTC, coupled between an output of the rectifier module 108 and one end of the bus capacitor CB. Upon application of power to the power system 100 from the rectifier module 108 (i.e., during power up), the series resistance RPTC will control or otherwise limit the maximum current flowing into the bus capacitor CB. The inrush current protection circuitry 140 also includes an active switch 142, configured in parallel with the series resistance RPTC. The active switch 142 can include a controllable single-pole-single-throw switch, such as a switching transistor (e.g., a MOSFET) or a silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR).

[0048] The inrush current protection circuitry 140 also includes an inrush current controller 144. The inrush current controller 144 is configured for receiving an indication of one or more of the voltage across the bus capacitor CB (e.g., from voltage sensor V) and the current flowing from the rectifier 108 toward the bus capacitor CB (e.g., from current sensor A). The inrush current controller 144 is further configured or otherwise programmed to determine when the bus capacitor CB is charged, for example, above a predetermined threshold voltage. For example, such a threshold voltage can be identified as some percentage of a minimum acceptable bus operating voltage (e.g., 90% VMIN). In some embodiments, the inrush current controller 144 provides a switch control signal to the controllable switch 142, causing the normally open switch to close, or otherwise short circuit the series resistance RPTC. A substantial short circuit provided by the switch 142 effectively removes the series resistance from the circuit, allowing current to flow from the rectifier 108 towards the bus capacitor, in a substantially unrestricted manner. In at least some embodiments, the series resistor RPTC is generally known as a positive temperature coefficient thermistor. As such, the series resistor is configured to self-protect during operation should the active switch 142 happen to malfunction. Namely, the series resistor can increase its resistance value in response to current surges through the resistor to effectively control or otherwise limit any such current surges.

[0049] A flow diagram of an embodiment of a process 400 for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell is illustrated in FIG. 6. A current limiting resistance, such as RPTC is initially applied at 405 (i.e., before power up) between an output of a rectifier module 108 of an ozone power system 100 and a bus capacitor CB. Power is applied to the power system at 410. More particularly, an AC input voltage is applied to a bus capacitor at 415 for charging the bus capacitor CB. The charging current flows through the current limiting resistor RPTC. The bus capacitor CB is considered initialized when it has charged to a value above some threshold value. If the bus capacitor CB is not initialized at 420, the rectified AC input voltage continues charging bus capacitor at 415 through the series resistance RPTC. If, however, the bus capacitor CB has been initialized at 420, the current limiting resistance can be short circuited or otherwise removed from the circuit at 425. A DC voltage established across the bus capacitor CB is converted by the power system 100 to high-frequency AC at 430, for powering an ozone-producing cell 106. In at least some embodiments, if the power system is powered down at 435, the current limiting resistance can be applied between the rectifier output and bus capacitor at 405 (e.g., by opening the switch 142), in anticipation of a subsequent power up.

[0050] Referring next to FIG. 7, a flow diagram 450 of another embodiment of a process for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell is illustrated. A current limiting resistance RPTC is applied between a rectifier module 108 and a bus capacitor CB during initialization at 455. A current IBUS flowing through the series resistance RPTC, and a voltage VCAP across the bus capacitor CB, are each measured at 460. If the bus voltage VCAP is less than a predetermined threshold voltage, VTH, it is indicative that the bus capacitor CB has not been fully charged or otherwise initialized. Under this condition, the current-limiting resistance RPTC remains in place between the rectifier module 108 and the bus capacitor CB during initialization at 455 and monitoring IBUS and VCAP at 460. If the voltage VCAP is greater than or equal to the threshold voltage VTH at 465, however, it is next determined whether the current IBUS is greater than a predetermined current threshold ITH. If the current remains above the current threshold ITH, then application of the current limiting resistance RPTC continues during initialization at 455. During initialization, monitoring of the values IBUS, VCAP also continues at 460, as well as the comparison of VCAP to VTH at 465. Once the voltage VCAP has increased above the threshold VTH and the current has fallen below the threshold ITH, it can be concluded that the bus capacitor CB has been sufficiently charged. In response to this situation, the current limiting resistance RPTC is short-circuited or otherwise removed from the circuit at 475. In at least some embodiments, if the power system is powered down at 480, the current limiting resistance can be once again applied at 455, in anticipation for a subsequent power up.

[0051] FIG. 8A shows a schematic diagram of an example of a feedback control system 500 for varying switching operation of the power converter 114, 214 (FIGs. 2, 4), such that a high-voltage DC output of the DC-to-DC converter follows a reference. In at least some embodiments, at least a portion of the feedback control system is associated with application of the first controller 230 illustrated in FIG. 4. In a first, inner control loop, a difference is formed at a first summing network 502 between a target or reference switching current setting ISET_HF at the primary winding of the transformer 130 (FIG. 2) and a measure of the actual switching current IINV_FBK (e.g., feedback). The feedback can be obtained from a measurement of the switching current IINV, for example by a first sensor, such as the current sensor A1 shown in FIG. 2, or other suitable "pick-off circuit. An output of the summing network 502 represents an error signal, determined as a difference between the reference ISET_HF and feedback IINV_FBK switching currents. The error signal can be conditioned (e.g., amplified), as necessary, by a conditioning network represented by a GCHF(s) block 503. The conditioned error signal can be used to alter or otherwise adjust a switching control circuit, a transfer function of which is represented by the GpwmHF block 508. The switched current is stepped up or down as required and otherwise conditioned, a corresponding transfer function being represented by a GppwrHF(s) block 504. A transfer function of any signal conditioning (e.g., amplification) as may be applied to the picked-off portion of the switching current, is represented by a GIfbkHF(s) block 506. Thus, the error current (i.e., ISET_HF - IINV_FBK) can be used to drive or otherwise change operation of the converter 124, 214 (FIGs. 2 and 4) to vary the switching current IINV.

[0052] An example controller represented by the GpwmHF block 508 provides a control signal adapted to adjust switching within the converter 124 to control the switching current IINV, effectively closing the loop by zeroing a difference obtained at the summing node 502. Such control signals can be configured to impart one or more of pulse-width modulation and frequency modulation modes of operation of the switches SA, SB, SC and SD. Thus the inner control loop operates to adjust the switching current IINV to match a received or reference switching current setting ISET_HF. In at least some embodiments, the controller 230 provides a pulse width modulation signal to the converter 124, thereby controlling the resulting switching current IINV. A settling time in which the inner loop stabilizes after perturbation can be represented by the value T1.

[0053] In a second, outer control loop, a difference is formed at a second summing network 510 between an input or reference high-voltage VHV_SET, indicative of an intended voltage setting for the high-voltage DC bus 216 (FIG. 4) and an indication of the actual voltage setting (e.g., feedback) for the high-voltage DC bus 216, VHV_FBK. The feedback can be obtained from a measurement of the high-voltage DC bus voltage, for example, by a suitable sensor or other suitable pick-off circuit, such as the voltage sensor V shown in FIG. 2. The outer control loop also includes a GVfbkHF(s) block 512, representing a transfer function of any signal conditioning circuitry, such as one as or more of signal gain and filtering, as may be applied to the measured high-voltage DC bus voltage VHF. A GOUTHF(S) block 514 represents a transfer function of any circuitry provided between that point at which the converter current IINV is sampled and the pick-off point of VHF.

[0054] An output of the second summing network 510 represents an error signal determined as a difference between the reference high-voltage and the fed back sample of the high-voltage DC bus (i.e., VHV_SET - VHV_FBK). The error signal can be conditioned as required to produce a signal corresponding to the target or reference switching current setting ISET_HF. A GVHF(S) block 501 represents a transfer function of any such circuitry. Thus, the error voltage can be used to drive or otherwise change operation of the converter 124, 214 (FIGs. 2 and 4) to vary the switching current IINV, resulting in a desired change to the high-voltage DC voltage VHF.

[0055] A settling time in which the outer loop stabilizes after perturbation can be represented by a time value T2. Similarly, a settling time for the inner loop can be represented by a time value T1. In at least some embodiments, the inner loop provides a faster response time than the outer control loop, such that T1 < T2. In at least some embodiments, the value of T2 can be several times the value of T1. In at least some embodiments, the value of T2 can be at least about ten times greater than the value of T1.

[0056] FIG. 8B shows a schematic diagram of a comparative example of a second feedback control system 550 for varying switching operation of the power inverter 118, 218 (FIGs. 2, 4), such that an output current IOUT of the power converter 100, 200 (FIGs. 1, 4) follows an adjustable reference current. In at least some embodiments, at least a portion of the second feedback control system 550 is associated with the second controller 240 illustrated in FIG. 4. In a first feedback loop, a difference is formed at a first summing network 558 between a target or reference load current setting ISET_CMD and a measure (i.e., feedback) IOUT_FBK of the actual power converter output current IOUT. The measure of the output current IOUT_FBK can be determined by a sensor (e.g., current sensor A shown in FIG. 3, or other suitable "pick-off circuit) measuring the output current IOUT. An output of the first summing network 558 represents an error signal, determined as a difference between the reference ISET_CMD and feedback IOUT_FBK currents. The error signal can be conditioned (e.g., amplified), as necessary, by a conditioning network, a transfer function of which is represented by a GCLF(s) block 555.

[0057] The conditioned error signal can be used to alter or otherwise adjust a switching control circuit, such as a switching circuit SE, SF of the power inverter 118, 218. The switching control circuit determines operation of the switching circuit SE, SF to produce a desired switched output current. In at least some embodiments more than one switching control circuits can be provided, such as a pulse width modulation circuit, the transfer function of which is represented by the KpwmLF block 560a, and a frequency modulation circuit, the transfer function of which is represented by the KfmLF block 560b. Output signals from each of the switching control circuits can be combined in a combining network 561. The switched current can be filtered and conditioned as otherwise required, a corresponding transfer function being represented by the GPWRLF(s) block 562. A transfer function of any signal conditioning (e.g., amplification) as may be applied to the picked-off portion of the switching current, is represented by the GIfbkLF(s) block 567. Thus, the error current (i.e., ISET_CMD - IOUT_FBK) can be used to drive or otherwise change operation of the inverter 118, 218 (FIGs. 2 and 4) to vary the power converter output current IOUT.

[0058] In some embodiments, a second feedback loop is provided to control the reference load current setting ISET_CMD. In particular, the second control loop operates according to a power level of the power converter 100, 200. Namely, the output power follows an adjustable reference power level PSET. In an example embodiment, a difference or error signal is formed at a second summing network 552 between target or reference load power setting PSET (e.g., 0 kW < PSET < 5 kW) and a measure of the actual output power PFBK (e.g., feedback). The indication of the actual output power can be determined or otherwise estimated as a product of the output voltage VHV and output current IHV, each measurable at an output of the DC-to-DC converter 114, 214 (FIGs. 2 & 4). A product can be obtained by applying each sensed output to a multiplication circuit 556. For example, the output voltage VHV can be obtained by a first sensor, such as the voltage sensor V shown in FIG. 2. Likewise, the output current IHV can be obtained by a second sensor, such as the current sensor A2 shown in FIG. 2. Alternatively or in addition, a measure of the input voltage VBUS and input current IBUS can be used as an alternative approach to estimating the actual output power PFBK. The Kvb(s) block 554a represents a transfer function of circuitry between the sampled output voltage VHV and the multiplication circuit 556. Likewise, the Kib(s) block 554b represents a transfer function of circuitry between the sampled output current IHV and the multiplication circuit 556.

[0059] An output of the second summing network 552 represents an error signal, determined as a difference between the reference PSET and feedback PFBK power levels. The error signal can be modified or otherwise conditioned as necessary (e.g., proportionality, integration, differentiation) represented by a PID(z) block 551, to convert a measure of power to a measure of current ISET_LF. In at least some embodiments the modified power error signal is further conditioned (e.g., amplified), as necessary, by a conditioning network represented by a GPRE(s) block 553 (e.g., a pre-amplifier).

[0060] A settling time in which the outer loop stabilizes after perturbation can be represented by a time value T4. Similarly, a settling time for the inner loop can be represented by a time value T3. In at least some embodiments, the inner loop provides a faster response time than the outer control loop, such that T3 < T4. In at least some embodiments, the inner control loop of the second feedback control system 550 provides a slower response time (e.g., settling time T3) then either of the inner and outer control loops of the first feedback control system 500 (i.e., T3 > T2 > T1).

[0061] FIG. 8C shows a schematic diagram of an embodiment of the second feedback control system 550' including a link to the first control system 500, in accordance with claim 1. In the linked controller of the illustrative embodiment, a difference or error signal is formed at a third summing network 563 between a target or reference high-voltage DC VHV_CMD and a reference input to the first summing network 558 (e.g., feedback). An output of the third summing network 563 VHV_SET is provided as an input to the second summing network 510 of the first control loop 500 (FIG. 8A) for establishing a voltage level of the high-voltage regulated DC bus 216 (FIG. 2). Namely, a sample of the target load current setting ISET_CMD can be modified by circuitry, a transfer function represented by a kpv(s) block 564, and combined with a received high-voltage setting command VHV_CMD to produce a target high-voltage DC bus setting VHV_SET. The settling time of this linked control loop is the slowest out of the others. Consequently, the settling time of the linked control loop prevents interaction among all of the other control loops.

[0062] Beneficially, increased power stage efficiency can be realized due to an ability to lower an operating value of the high-voltage bus when output power demands are relatively low. Another benefit is improved reliability, since reduced voltage stress occurs when the high-voltage bus is lowered.

[0063] In at least some embodiments, the power system 100 is configured to provide power to any combination of ozone-producing cells 106 between about 0 watts to about 5 kilowatts. One or more such power systems 100, 200 can also be combined (e.g., in parallel) to provide greater power to one or more ozone-producing cells 106, 206 than any single power system 100, 200 would otherwise be capable of providing.

[0064] Whereas many alterations and modifications of the present disclosure will no doubt become apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art after having read the foregoing description, it is to be understood that the particular embodiments shown and described by way of illustration are in no way intended to be considered limiting. For example, although the control loops are described in the context of analog operation, it is understood that one or more of the loops can also be implemented as a digital controller. Further, the disclosure has been described with reference to particular preferred embodiments, but variations within the scope of the disclosure will occur to those skilled in the art. It is noted that the foregoing examples have been provided merely for the purpose of explanation and are in no way to be construed as limiting of the present disclosure.

[0065] While the present disclosure has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, it is understood that the words, which have been used herein, are words of description and illustration, rather than words of limitation.

[0066] Although the present disclosure has been described herein with reference to particular means, materials and embodiments, the present disclosure is not intended to be limited to the particulars disclosed herein; rather, the present disclosure extends to all functionally equivalent structures, methods and uses, such as are within the scope of the appended claims.


Claims

1. A power converter (200) for energizing at least one ozone-producing cell (206) comprising:

a DC-to-DC converter (214) having an input configured to receive an unregulated DC voltage and an output configured to provide a regulated DC high voltage (VHV) derived from the unregulated DC voltage, the DC high voltage (VHV) having a level substantially greater than a level of the unregulated DC voltage;

a high-frequency power inverter (218) having an input in communication with the output of the DC-to-DC converter (214), the high-frequency power inverter (218) configured to provide at an output a high-frequency AC voltage (VINV) derived from the DC high voltage (VHV);

a series inductance (LR) coupled to the output of the high-frequency power inverter (218) and to be coupled to at least one ozone-producing cell (206), the series inductance (LR) forming together with an internal capacitance of the at least one ozone-producing cell (206) a resonance in the high-frequency AC voltage occurring within a preferred operating frequency range of the at least one ozone-producing cell (206);

characterised in that it comprises:

a first controller (230, 500) having a sensing input receiving an indication of the DC high voltage output (VHV_FBK) of the DC-to-DC converter (214), a reference input configured to receive an indication of a target DC high voltage (VHV_SET), and a controlling output in communication with the DC-to-DC converter (214), the first controller (230) configured to adjust operation of the DC-to-DC converter (214) responsive to the target DC high voltage (VHV_SET) and an indication of the DC high-voltage received at the sensing input (VHV_FBK); and

a second controller (240, 550') arranged to perform feedback control of the power converter output current (IOUT), having a sensing input (242) configured to receive an indication of the power converter output current (IOUT) supplied to the at least one ozone-producing cell (206), an indication of the DC high voltage output (VHV) and an indication of the output current (IHV) of the DC-to-DC converter (214) a reference power input (241) configured to receive an indication of operating load power (PSET), and a controlling output in communication with the high frequency power inverter (218), the second controller (240, 550') configured to form a target load current setting (ISET CMD) based on the received indication of operating load power (PSET), said indication of the DC high voltage output (VHV) and said indication of the output current (IHV) of the DC-to-DC converter (214), and to adjust operation of the high-frequency power inverter (218) signal based on said target load current setting (ISET_CMD) ;

wherein the second controller (240) is arranged to form a target DC high voltage (VHV_SET) based on the target load current setting (ISET_CMD) and a target high-voltage DC setting (VHV_CMD), and to output said target DC high voltage (VHV_SET signal to the reference input (231) of the first controller (230).


 
2. The power converter (200) of claim 1, wherein the DC high-voltage (V HV) is between about 1 kV and about 2 kV, for the unregulated DC voltage obtained by rectification of utility-provided AC power.
 
3. The power converter (200) of claim 1, wherein each of the DC-to-DC converter (214) and the high-frequency power inverter (218) comprises a respective plurality of controllable switches, each plurality of controllable switches operated at a respective switching frequency.
 
4. The power converter (200) of claim 4, wherein the DC-to-DC converter (214) comprises a step-up transformer having a physical size selected in inverse proportion to the respective switching frequency of the respective plurality of controllable switches, and optionally, wherein the respective switching frequency of the plurality of controllable switches of the DC-to-DC converter (214) is greater than about 300 kHz.
 
5. The power converter (200) of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second controllers comprises a phase-shift, zero-voltage switch pulse width modulator.
 
6. The power converter (200) of claim 2, wherein the preferred operating frequency of the ozone-producing cell (206) is between about 20 kHz and about 40 kHz.
 
7. The power converter (200) of claim 2, further comprising a shunt capacitance coupled in parallel to the at least one ozone-producing cell (206), a value of the shunt capacitance selectable to offset internal capacitance of added or removed ozone-producing cells (206), thereby preserving a substantially constant reactive load to the power converter.
 
8. A method for supplying power to at least one ozone-producing cell (206) using the power converter (200) according to claim 1.
 
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the DC high-voltage is between about 1 kV and about 2 kV, for the unregulated DC voltage obtained by rectification of utility-provided AC power.
 
10. The method of claim 8, wherein the first switching frequency is greater than about 300 kHz.
 
11. The method of claim 8, wherein converting the switched DC voltage to a regulated, DC high-voltage comprises applying the switched DC voltage to a primary winding of a step-up transformer, a physical size of the step-up transformer being inversely proportional to the first switching frequency.
 
12. The method of claim 8, wherein the preferred operating frequency range of the ozone-producing cell (206) is between about 20 kHz and about 40 kHz, and optionally, wherein the AC high-voltage is about 8 kV peak-to-peak, and optionally, wherein a Q resulting from the series inductance (LR) and the internal capacitance of the at least one ozone-producing cell (206) is less than about 5.
 
13. The method of claim 8, wherein switching one or more of the unregulated DC voltage and the DC high-voltage comprises phase shift zero voltage switch pulse width modulation, and optionally, further comprising switching one or more of the unregulated DC voltage and the DC high-voltage responsive to a predetermined power for driving the at least one ozone-producing cell (206).
 
14. The method of claim 8, further comprising adjusting the DC high voltage respective to an adjustable output power.
 


Ansprüche

1. Leistungsumrichter (200) zum Erregen wenigstens einer ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206), der Folgendes umfasst:

einen Gleichstromumrichter (214) mit einem Eingang, der konfiguriert ist, um eine ungeregelte Gleichspannung zu empfangen, und einem Ausgang, der konfiguriert ist, um eine geregelte Gleichhochspannung (VHV) bereitzustellen, die von der ungeregelten Gleichspannung abstammt, wobei die Gleichhochspannung (VHV) einen Wert aufweist, der im Wesentlichen über einem Wert der ungeregelten Gleichspannung ist;

einen Hochfrequenzleistungswechselrichter (218) mit einem Eingang, der mit dem Ausgang des Gleichstromumrichters (214) in Verbindung steht, wobei der Hochfrequenzleistungswechselrichter (218) konfiguriert ist, um an einem Ausgang eine Hochfrequenzwechselspannung (VINV) bereitzustellen, die von der Gleichhochspannung (VHV) abstammt;

eine Reiheninduktivität (LR), die mit dem Ausgang des Hochfrequenzleistungswechselrichters (218) gekoppelt ist und mit wenigstens einer ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) gekoppelt ist, wobei die Reiheninduktivität (LR) zusammen mit einer Wicklungskapazität der wenigstens einen ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) eine Resonanz in der Hochfrequenzwechselspannung, die innerhalb eines bevorzugten Betriebsfrequenzbereichs der wenigstens einen ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) auftritt, ausbildet;

dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es Folgendes umfasst:

eine erste Steuervorrichtung (230, 500) mit einem Abtasteingang, der eine Angabe des Gleichhochspannungsausgangs (VHV_FBK) des Gleichstromumrichters (214) empfängt, einem Referenzeingang, der konfiguriert ist, um eine Angabe einer Zielgleichhochspannung (VHV_SET) zu empfangen, und einem Steuerungsausgang, der mit dem Gleichstromumrichter (214) in Verbindung steht, wobei die erste Steuervorrichtung (230) konfiguriert ist, um einen Betrieb des Gleichstromumrichters (214) in Reaktion auf die Zielgleichhochspannung (VHV_SET) und eine Angabe der Gleichhochspannung, die an dem Abtasteingang (VHV_FBK) empfangen wird, anzupassen; und

eine zweite Steuervorrichtung (240, 550'), die angeordnet ist, um eine Regelung des Leistungsumrichterausgangsstroms (IOUT) durchzuführen, mit einem Abtasteingang (242), der konfiguriert ist, um eine Angabe des Leistungsumrichterausgangsstroms (IOUT), der der wenigstens einer ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) zugeführt wird, eine Angabe der Gleichhochspannung (VHV) und eine Angabe des Ausgangsstroms (IHV) des Gleichstromumrichters (214) zu empfangen, einem Referenzleistungseingang (241), der konfiguriert ist, um eine Angabe der Betriebslastleistung (PSET) zu empfangen, und einem Steuerungsausgang, der mit dem Hochfrequenzleistungswechselrichter (218) in Verbindung steht, wobei die zweite Steuervorrichtung (240, 550') konfiguriert ist, um eine Ziellaststromeinstellung (ISET CMD) basierend auf der empfangenen Angabe der Betriebslastleistung (PSET), der Angabe der Gleichhochspannung (VHV) und der Angabe des Ausgangsstroms (IHV) des Gleichstromumrichters (214) auszubilden, und um den Betrieb des Signals des Hochfrequenzleistungswechselrichters (218) basierend auf der Ziellaststromeinstellung (ISET_CMD) einzustellen;

wobei die zweite Steuervorrichtung (240) angeordnet ist, um eine Zielgleichhochspannung (VHV_SET) basierend auf der Ziellaststromeinstellung (ISET_CMD) und einer Zielgleichhochspannungseinstellung (VHV_CMD) auszubilden und um das Signal der Zielgleichhochspannung (VHV_SET) an den Referenzeingang (231) der ersten Steuervorrichtung (230) auszugeben.


 
2. Leistungsumrichter (200) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Gleichhochspannung (V_HV) für die ungeregelte Gleichspannung, die durch eine Gleichrichtung der zum Nutzen bereitgestellten Wechselspannungsleistung erhalten wird, zwischen etwa 1 kV und etwa 2 kV liegt.
 
3. Leistungsumrichter (200) nach Anspruch 1, wobei jeder der Gleichstromumrichter (214) und der Hochfrequenzleistungswechselrichter (218) jeweils mehrere steuerbare Schalter umfasst, wobei jeder der mehreren steuerbaren Schalter mit einer jeweiligen Schaltfrequenz betrieben wird.
 
4. Leistungsumrichter (200) nach Anspruch 4, wobei der Gleichstromumrichter (214) einen Aufwärtstransformator mit einer physikalischen Größe umfasst, die in einem umgekehrten Verhältnis zu der jeweiligen Schaltfrequenz der jeweiligen mehreren steuerbaren Schalter ausgewählt ist, und optional, wobei die jeweilige Schaltfrequenz der mehreren steuerbaren Schalter des Gleichstromumrichters (214) über etwa 300 kHz liegt.
 
5. Leistungsumrichter (200) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die erste und/oder die zweite Steuervorrichtung einen phasenverschobenen Nullspannungsschalterpulsweitenmodulator umfasst.
 
6. Leistungsumrichter (200) nach Anspruch 2, wobei die bevorzugte Betriebsfrequenz der ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) zwischen etwa 20 kHz und etwa 40 kHz liegt.
 
7. Leistungsumrichter (200) nach Anspruch 2, der ferner eine Parallelkapazität umfasst, die mit der wenigstens einen ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) parallel gekoppelt ist, wobei ein Wert der Parallelkapazität auswählbar ist, um eine Wicklungskapazität von zugesetzten oder entfernten ozonerzeugenden Zellen (206) auszugleichen, wobei dadurch eine im Wesentlichen konstante Blindlast für den Leistungsumrichter beibehalten wird.
 
8. Verfahren zum Zuführen von Leistung zu wenigstens einer ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) unter Verwendung des Leistungsumrichters (200) nach Anspruch 1.
 
9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei die Gleichhochspannung für die ungeregelte Gleichspannung, die durch eine Gleichrichtung der zum Nutzen bereitgestellten Wechselspannungsleistung erhalten wird, zwischen etwa 1 kV und etwa 2 kV liegt.
 
10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei die erste Schaltfrequenz über etwa 300 kHz beträgt.
 
11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei ein Umrichten der geschalteten Gleichspannung in eine geregelte Gleichhochspannung das Anlegen der geschalteten Gleichspannung zu einer Primärwicklung eines Aufwärtstransformator umfasst, wobei eine physikalische Größe des Aufwärtstransformators im umgekehrten Verhältnis zu der ersten Schaltfrequenz ist.
 
12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei der bevorzugte Betriebsfrequenzbereich der ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) zwischen etwa 20 kHz und etwa 40 kHz liegt, und optional, wobei die Wechselhochspannung etwa 8 kV Spitze zu Spitze beträgt, und optional, wobei ein Q, das sich aus der Reiheninduktivität (LR) und der Wicklungskapazität der wenigstens einen ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) ergibt, weniger als etwa 5 beträgt.
 
13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei das Schalten der ungeregelten Gleichspannung und/oder der Gleichhochspannung phasenverschobene Nullspannungsschalterpulsweitenmodulation umfasst, und optional, ferner das Schalten der ungeregelten Gleichspannung und/oder der Gleichhochspannung in Reaktion auf eine zuvor bestimmte Leistung zum Antreiben wenigstens einer ozonerzeugenden Zelle (206) umfasst.
 
14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, das ferner das Anpassen der Gleichhochspannung jeweils an eine anpassbare Ausgangsleistung umfasst.
 


Revendications

1. Convertisseur d'énergie (200) destiné à l'excitation d'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206) comprenant :

un convertisseur CC/CC (214) ayant une entrée configurée pour recevoir une tension CC non régulée et une sortie configurée pour fournir une haute tension CC régulée (VHV) dérivée de la tension CC non régulée, la haute tension CC (VHV) ayant un niveau sensiblement supérieur à un niveau de la tension CC non régulée ;

un onduleur d'énergie haute fréquence (218) ayant une entrée en communication avec la sortie du convertisseur CC/CC (214), l'onduleur d'énergie haute fréquence (218) étant configuré pour fournir à une sortie une tension CA haute fréquence (VINV) dérivée de la haute tension CC (VHV) ;

une inductance en série (LR) couplée à la sortie de l'onduleur d'énergie haute fréquence (218) et devant être couplée à au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206), l'inductance en série (LR) formant avec une capacité interne de l'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206) une résonance dans la tension CA haute fréquence se produisant à l'intérieur d'une plage de fréquence de fonctionnement préférée de l'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206) ;

caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend :

un premier dispositif de commande (230, 500) ayant une entrée de détection recevant une indication de la sortie haute tension CC (VHV_FBK) du convertisseur CC/CC (214), une entrée de référence configurée pour recevoir une indication d'une haute tension CC cible (VHV_SET), et une sortie de commande en communication avec le convertisseur CC-CC (214), le premier dispositif de commande (230) étant configuré pour ajuster le fonctionnement du convertisseur CC/CC (214) en réponse à la haute tension CC cible (VHV_SET) et une indication de la haute tension CC étant reçue à l'entrée de détection (VHV_FBK) ; et

un second dispositif de commande (240, 550') agencé pour effectuer une commande de rétroaction du courant de sortie du convertisseur d'énergie (IOUT), ayant une entrée de détection (242) configurée pour recevoir une indication du courant de sortie du convertisseur d'énergie (IOUT) fournie à l'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206), une indication de la sortie haute tension CC (VHV) et une indication du courant de sortie (IHV) du convertisseur CC/CC (214), une entrée d'énergie de référence (241) configurée pour recevoir une indication de l'énergie de charge de fonctionnement (PSET) et une sortie de commande en communication avec l'onduleur haute fréquence (218), le second dispositif de commande (240, 550') étant configuré pour former un réglage de courant de charge cible (ISET CMD) sur la base de l'indication reçue de l'énergie de charge de fonctionnement (PSET), de ladite indication de la sortie haute tension CC (VHV) et de ladite indication du courant de sortie (IHV) du convertisseur CC/CC (214), et pour ajuster le fonctionnement du signal d'onduleur d'énergie à haute fréquence (218) sur la base dudit réglage de courant de charge cible (ISET_CMD) ;

dans lequel le second dispositif de commande (240) est agencé pour former une haute tension CC cible (VHV_SET) sur la base du réglage de courant de charge cible (ISET_CMD) et d'un réglage CC haute tension cible (VHV_CMD), et pour sortir ledit signal de haute tension CC cible (VHV_SET) à l'entrée de référence (231) du premier dispositif de commande (230).


 
2. Convertisseur d'énergie (200) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la haute tension CC (V_HV) est comprise entre environ 1 kV et environ 2 kV, pour la tension CC non régulée obtenue par rectification de l'énergie CA fournie par un service public.
 
3. Convertisseur d'énergie (200) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chacun parmi le convertisseur CC/CC (214) et l'onduleur d'énergie haute fréquence (218) comprend une pluralité respective de commutateurs commandables, chaque pluralité de commutateurs commandables fonctionnant à une fréquence de commutation respective.
 
4. Convertisseur d'énergie (200) selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le convertisseur CC/CC (214) comprend un transformateur élévateur ayant une taille physique choisie en proportion inverse à la fréquence de commutation respective de la pluralité respective de commutateurs commandables, et éventuellement, dans lequel la fréquence de commutation respective de la pluralité de commutateurs commandables du convertisseur CC/CC (214) est supérieure à environ 300 kHz.
 
5. Convertisseur d'énergie (200) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel au moins l'un des premier et second dispositifs de commande comprend un modulateur de largeur d'impulsion de commutateur à tension nulle à déphasage.
 
6. Convertisseur d'énergie (200) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel la fréquence de fonctionnement préférée de la cellule productrice d'ozone (206) est comprise entre environ 20 kHz et environ 40 kHz.
 
7. Convertisseur d'énergie (200) selon la revendication 2, comprenant en outre une capacité de shunt couplée en parallèle à l'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206), une valeur de la capacité de shunt pouvant être choisie pour compenser la capacité interne d'ozone ajouté ou retiré de cellules productrices d'ozone (206), préservant ainsi une charge réactive sensiblement constante au convertisseur d'énergie.
 
8. Procédé d'alimentation en énergie d'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206) à l'aide du convertisseur d'énergie (200) selon la revendication 1.
 
9. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel la haute tension CC est comprise entre environ 1 kV et environ 2 kV, pour la tension CC non régulée obtenue par rectification de l'énergie CA fournie par un service public.
 
10. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel la première fréquence de commutation est supérieure à environ 300 kHz.
 
11. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel la conversion de la tension CC commutée en une haute tension CC régulée comprend l'application de la tension CC commutée à un enroulement primaire d'un transformateur élévateur, une taille physique du transformateur élévateur étant inversement proportionnelle à la première fréquence de commutation.
 
12. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel la plage de fréquence de fonctionnement préférée de la cellule productrice d'ozone (206) est comprise entre environ 20 kHz et environ 40 kHz, et éventuellement, dans lequel la haute tension CA est d'environ 8 kV crête à crête, et éventuellement, dans lequel un Q résultant de l'inductance en série (LR) et de la capacité interne de l'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206) est inférieur à environ 5.
 
13. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel la commutation d'une ou de plusieurs tensions parmi la tension CC non régulée et la haute tension CC comprend une modulation de largeur d'impulsion de commutateur à tension nulle à déphasage, et éventuellement, comprend en outre la commutation d'une ou de plusieurs tensions parmi la tension CC non régulée et la haute tension CC en réponse à une énergie prédéterminée pour entraîner l'au moins une cellule productrice d'ozone (206).
 
14. Procédé selon la revendication 8, comprenant en outre l'ajustement de la haute tension CC respective à une énergie de sortie ajustable.
 




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Cited references

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