(19)
(11)EP 3 703 241 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.07.2022 Bulletin 2022/28

(21)Application number: 19159285.6

(22)Date of filing:  26.02.2019
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H02M 7/483(2007.01)
H02M 1/00(2006.01)
H02J 3/40(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
H02M 7/483; H02J 3/40; H02M 1/0025; H02M 7/4835

(54)

COMMUNICATION IN A CONVERTER DEVICE

KOMMUNIKATION IN EINER WANDLERVORRICHTUNG

COMMUNICATION DANS UN DISPOSITIF CONVERTISSEUR


(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

(43)Date of publication of application:
02.09.2020 Bulletin 2020/36

(73)Proprietor: Hitachi Energy Switzerland AG
5400 Baden (CH)

(72)Inventors:
  • HALLMANS, Daniel
    771 43 LUDVIKA (SE)
  • OHMAN, Jimmy
    77160 LUDVIKA (SE)
  • ÖSTERBERG, Johan
    784 43 BORLÄNGE (SE)
  • TOLFMANS, Joakim
    791 31 FALUN (SE)

(74)Representative: AWA Sweden AB 
Box 45086
104 30 Stockholm
104 30 Stockholm (SE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 3 016 306
US-A1- 2014 119 080
GB-A- 2 301 991
US-A1- 2015 229 229
  
  • RIETMANN STEFAN ET AL: "Field Bus for Data Exchange and Control of Modular Power Electronic Systems with High Synchronisation Accuracy", 2018 INTERNATIONAL POWER ELECTRONICS CONFERENCE (IPEC-NIIGATA 2018 -ECCE ASIA), IEEJ INDUSTRY APPLICATION SOCIETY, 20 May 2018 (2018-05-20), pages 2301-2308, XP033428522, DOI: 10.23919/IPEC.2018.8507631 [retrieved on 2018-10-24]
  • TOH C L ET AL: "A high speed control network synchronization jitter evaluation for embedded monitoring and control in modular multilevel converter", 2013 IEEE GRENOBLE CONFERENCE, IEEE, 16 June 2013 (2013-06-16), pages 1-6, XP032519705, DOI: 10.1109/PTC.2013.6652174 [retrieved on 2013-11-01]
  • WU XUEPEI ET AL: "End-to-End Delay Evaluation of Industrial Automation Systems Based on EtherCAT", 38TH ANNUAL IEEE CONFERENCE ON LOCAL COMPUTER NETWORKS, IEEE, 9 October 2017 (2017-10-09), pages 70-77, XP033255533, ISSN: 0742-1303, DOI: 10.1109/LCN.2017.14 [retrieved on 2017-11-14]
  
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] The present disclosure relates to the field of converter devices and in particular to communication between different nodes in a converter device.

BACKGROUND



[0002] High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) is increasing in usage due to a number of benefits compared to AC (Alternating Current) for power transmission. In order to connect a HVDC link or an HVDC grid to an AC grid, conversion needs to occur from DC (Direct Current) to AC or AC to DC. This conversion can for example be performed using a converter device such as a voltage source converter (VSC).

[0003] In such converter devices, converter cells are controlled by a main controller to synthesize the conversion. When there are many converter cells, each converter cell needs to be able to receive a signal from the main controller, which can get complicated when the number of converter cells is large. Moreover, time needs to be synchronised between different nodes of the converter device.

[0004] A field bus protocol based on the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard is proposed by Rietmann Stefan et al. ("Field Bus for Data Exchange and Control of Modular Power Electronic Systems with High Synchronisation Accuracy",2018 IPEC-NIIGATA, IEEJ INDUSTRY APPLICATION SOCIETY, 20 May 2018, pages 2301-2308, XP033428522).

[0005] EP 2 897 268 A1 discloses a power electronic converter for converting electric energy and a method for controlling a power electronic converter. The converter comprises a plurality of PE (Power Electronic) switches, and a control system adapted to transmit control information to the PE switches. The control system comprises a master controller and a plurality of local controllers controlling the PE switches. The control system further comprises one or more slave devices controlled by the master controller. A control system is configured to provide time synchronization between the one or more slave devices and the local controllers. The delay of the control information through each slave device is estimated, and it is calculated for each slave device a new clock setting to be set.

[0006] However, the presented time synchronisation is dependent on a known communication path to be able to estimate the delay from the control system to each slave device. When there are multiple redundant communication paths for signals, the presented time synchronisation method is not applicable since the delay can vary depending on the communication path.

SUMMARY



[0007] One objective is to provide an improved time synchronisation in a converter device which is applicable when multiple communication paths can be taken.

[0008] According to a first aspect, it is provided a method for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes of a converter device for high voltage power conversion. The method is performed in a first node of the converter device and comprises the steps of: receiving a time reference from a second node; obtaining a delay value for receiving time references from the second node; determining a compensated time by adding the delay value to the time reference; and setting a clock in the first node to be the compensated time.

[0009] The method further comprises the step of: sending the compensated time as a time reference to a third node.

[0010] The delay value may consider both a communication delay and a processing delay.

[0011] There may be a master clock source upon which a plurality of time references in the converter device is based.

[0012] All time references in the converter device may be based on the master clock source.

[0013] According to a second aspect, it is provided a first node for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes of a converter device for high voltage power conversion, the plurality of nodes comprising the first node. The first node comprises: a processor; and a memory storing instructions that, when executed by the processor, cause the first node to: receive a time reference from a second node; obtain a delay value for receiving time references from the second node; determine a compensated time by adding the delay value to the time reference; and set a clock in the first node to be the compensated time.

[0014] The first node further comprises the step of: sending the compensated time as a time reference to a third node.

[0015] The delay value may consider both a communication delay and a processing delay.

[0016] There may be a master clock source upon which a plurality of time references in the converter device is based.

[0017] All time references in the converter device may be based on the master clock source.

[0018] According to a third aspect, it is provided a computer program for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes of a converter device for high voltage power conversion, the plurality of nodes comprising a first node. The computer program comprises computer program code which, when run on the first node causes the first node to: receive a time reference from a second node; obtain a delay value for receiving time references from the second node; determine a compensated time by adding the delay value to the time reference; and set a clock in the first node to be the compensated time.

[0019] According to a fourth aspect, it is provided a computer program product comprising a computer program according to the second aspect and a computer readable means on which the computer program is stored.

[0020] According to a fifth aspect, it is provided a converter arm for power conversion comprising: a plurality of converter cells, wherein at least one of the converter cells comprises a plurality of semiconductor switches, an energy storage element and at least three signal connections arranged to control the conducting state of the plurality of semiconductor switches. At least one converter cell may be connected to receive a signal from at least three entities via said signal connections, wherein at least two of the three entities are neighbouring converter cells, and each converter cell is arranged to forward, as long as the signal has not been received before, a signal to all connected neighbouring converter cells via said signal connections.

[0021] The converter arm may further comprise a shortcut connection between two non-neighbouring converter cells wherein the non neighbouring converter cells each comprises at least four signal connections.

[0022] Each converter cell may be arranged to detect a blocking message supplied to the signal connections separately from other messages supplied to the signal connections, wherein the blocking message instructs the converter cell to turn off all semiconductor switches of the converter cell.

[0023] Each converter cell may be arranged to detect and forward the blocking message without fully decoding a signal comprising the blocking message.

[0024] Four of the converter cells may be directly connected to a main controller, arranged to generate signals arranged to control the conducting state of the plurality of semiconductor switches of the converter cells.

[0025] The converter cells directly connected to the main controller may be connected to only two neighbouring converter cells, and any converter cells not directly connected to the main controller are connected to three neighbouring converter cells.

[0026] Each converter cell may comprise a cell controller and the signal connections of each converter cell are connected to the cell controller, wherein the cell controller is arranged to control the semiconductor switches of the converter cell via respective gate units arranged to condition signals for the semiconductor switches to a suitable format.

[0027] Each converter cell may comprise an auxiliary power input, wherein each auxiliary power input is arranged to power control functions of the respective converter cell without charging the energy storage element of the respective converter cell.

[0028] The converter arm may further comprise at least one battery connected to the auxiliary power inputs of the converter cells.

[0029] Each converter cell may comprise a battery connected to its auxiliary power input.

[0030] Each one of the signal connections may be a bidirectional connection.

[0031] Each one of the signal connections may be arranged to communicate via optical connections.

[0032] According to a sixth aspect, it is provided converter device for converting power in at least one direction between an alternating current, AC, and a direct current, DC, comprising at least one converter arm according to the fifth aspect.

[0033] The converter device may comprise a plurality of phase legs connected in parallel between terminals of a DC connection, and each phase leg comprises at least one converter arm according to the fifth aspect.

[0034] Generally, all terms used in the claims are to be interpreted according to their ordinary meaning in the technical field, unless explicitly defined otherwise herein. All references to "a/an/the element, apparatus, component, means, step, etc." are to be interpreted openly as referring to at least one instance of the element, apparatus, component, means, step, etc., unless explicitly stated otherwise. The steps of any method disclosed herein do not have to be performed in the exact order disclosed, unless explicitly stated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0035] Aspects and embodiments are now described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating one embodiment of a converter device for converting between DC and AC;

Figs 2A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating the structure of converter arms of the converter device of Fig 1 according to two embodiments with varying connectivity options to the main controller;

Fig 3A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating structures of a converter arm of the converter device of Fig 1 according to two embodiments;

Fig 4A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating the structure of two embodiments of a converter cell of Figs 2A-B or Fig 3;

Fig 5 is a schematic diagram illustrating communication of time references between nodes of the converter device;

Fig 6 is a flow chart illustrating for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes in a converter device;

Fig 7 is a schematic diagram illustrating components of any one of the nodes of Fig 5 according to one embodiment;

Fig 8 shows one example of a computer program product comprising computer readable means; and

Figs 9A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating embodiments of switching cells of the converter cells of Figs 4A-B.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0036] The aspects of the present disclosure will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which certain embodiments of the invention are shown. These aspects may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limiting; rather, these embodiments are provided by way of example so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and to fully convey the scope of all aspects of invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout the description.

[0037] Fig 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating one embodiment of a converter device 8 for converting between DC and AC. The DC connection comprises a positive terminal DC+ and a negative terminal DC- and can be an HVDC connection. The AC connection in this embodiment is a three phase connection comprising three AC connections ACa, ACb and ACc and can be connected e.g. to an AC grid. While the converter device 8 is here shown with three phases, the converter device 8 can equally well have one, two, four or more phases.

[0038] Since there are three phases here, there are three phase legs 7a-c. The three phase legs 7a-c are connected in parallel between terminals DC+, DC- of the DC connection. In this embodiment, a first phase leg 7a comprises a first converter arm 1a, a first inductor 9a, a second inductor, 9b and a second converter arm 1b connected serially between the terminals DC+, DC- of the DC connection. Analogously, a second phase leg 7b comprises a third converter arm 1c, a third inductor 9c, a fourth inductor, 9d and a fourth converter arm 1d connected serially between the terminals DC+, DC- of the DC connection, and a third phase leg 7c comprises a fifth converter arm 1e, a fifth inductor 9e, a sixth inductor, 9f and a sixth converter arm 1f connected serially between the terminals DC+, DC- of the DC connection. The AC terminals ACa, ACb and ACc are provided between the inductors 9a-b of the respective phase legs 7a-c. Optionally, only one inductor is provided in each phase leg 7a-c.

[0039] A main controller 10 is connected to all converter arms 1a-f and sends signals to control the operation of the converter arms 1a-f. In this way, the main controller 10 controls the operation of the converter arms for conversion from AC to DC or from DC to AC. Additionally, the converter cells in the converter arms can send signals to the main controller 10, e.g. containing measurements, other operational data or any other suitable data. The converter device 8 can be unidirectional in either direction between AC and DC or bidirectional. The converter device 8 in this embodiment is a voltage source converter. One signal type that can be sent from the main controller 10 to one or more of the converter arms 1a-f is a blocking message.

[0040] While the converter device 8 is here shown with two converter arms for each phase leg, each phase could comprise any suitable number (1, 2, 3, etc.) of serially connected converter arms, controller by the main controller 10. In particular, if there is a large number of converter cells needed for a phase leg, the phase leg can comprise more than two converter arms.

[0041] Figs 2A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating the structure of converter arms 1 of the converter device 8 of Fig 1 according to two embodiments with varying connectivity options to one or more main controllers. The converter arm 1 can be any one of the converter arms 1a-f shown in Fig 1. First, the structure of the converter arm shown in Fig 2A will be described.

[0042] The converter arm 1 comprises a plurality of converter cells 6a-6z. Two converter cells 6a, 6y are connected to a first main controller 10a and two converter cells 6b, 6z are connected to a second main controller 10b. The two main controllers 10a-b are redundant and operate in the same way, with one main controller being active and one main controller being in hot standby. The main controller in hot standby is able to step in and quickly take over control if needed, e.g. due to a failing active main controller.

[0043] The number of converter cells in the converter arm can vary greatly from installation to installation and can e.g. reach hundreds of converter cells. Each converter cell 6a-z comprises a switching cell with semiconductor switches and an energy storage element, as will be explained in more detail below. Furthermore, at least some of the converter cells 6a-z comprise at least three signal connections, where a signal provided on any one of the signal connections controls the conducting state of the semiconductor switches of the converter cell. The signal connections are bidirectional connections.

[0044] Each converter cell 6a-z is connected to receive a signal from either one of the neighbouring entities. Neighbouring is here to be interpreted as adjacent with a direct signal connection. For example, a first converter cell 6a has two neighbouring converter cells: a second converter cell 6b and a third converter cell 6c. Moreover, the first converter cell 6a is directly connected to the first main controller 10a.

[0045] As shown in Fig 2A, at least two of the three entities for each converter cell are neighbouring converter cells. See for example converter cells 6a-b and 6y-z which are respectively connected to two neighbouring converter cells and one of the main controllers 10a-b. Other converter cells are connected to three neighbouring converter cells, see e.g. converter cells 6c-f. More particularly, for instance the third converter cell 6c has three, and only three, neighbouring converter cell: the first converter cell 6a, a fourth converter cell 6d and a fifth converter cell 6e.

[0046] Furthermore, each one of the converter cells 6a-z is arranged to forward a received signal to all connected neighbouring converter cells (and the main controllers 10a-b, if connected to one of the signal connections). In other words, each converter cell 6a-z can forward signals originating a main controller destined for a converter cell and vice versa. Each converter cell is configured to perform this action of signal forwarding autonomously, without additional external control. This forwarding is only performed under the condition that the signal has not been received before. In order for this condition to be evaluated, an identity of each received signal is stored and when a signal is received, its identity is checked against the list of already received signals. The forwarding of the signal then only occurs if the most recently received signal has not been received before.

[0047] The determination of when the signal has been received before can occur in different ways. In one embodiment, a node identity of the originating node of the message is included in the message. This node identity is then stored by the first node, for the time to live period, and any signal with the same originating node is considered to be the same message, and thus considered to have been received before. After the time to live period expires, the node identity is removed or indicated to be inactive. In this embodiment, each signal does not need to have its own identity; it is sufficient that the originating node is included in the signal. Optionally, a certain indicator in a signal can reset the time-to-live time, i.e. make a specific entry of an originating node immediately inactive.

[0048] In one embodiment, each message has its own signal identity. This signal identity is then stored and any signal with the same signal identity is considered to be the same message.

[0049] By only forwarding signals which have not been received before, it is prevented that the same signal continues to be forwarded between nodes in the converter device which, in a worst case scenario, can create an endless loop of signal forwarding of the same signal. The risk for such a loop depends on the topology of nodes in the converter device.

[0050] In this way, a signal from the main controllers 10a-b floods the converter cells 6a-z of the converter arm with the signal. Significantly, this arrangement provides great redundancy and resistance to any faults which may affect one or more of the converter cells, even though the main controllers 10a-b only needs to be connected on two sides of the converter cells, with two converter cells connected to the main controllers 10a-b on either side. That is, four converter cells 6a-b, 6y-z are connected to the main controllers 10a-b.

[0051] Say, for example, that a first converter cell 6a fails and then another converter cell 6f fails. In systems of the prior art, a failure of two converter cells can affect the controllability of many other converter cells. In contrast, with this arrangement, two failed cells can never affect the controllability of any other cells. In fact, in most cases, three or more converter cells can fail without affecting the controllability of other cells. In the prior art, the only way to reach such resilience to errors is by providing a connection between each individual converter cell and a main controller, which is a costly solution if the number of converter cells is high.

[0052] In the structure of Fig 2A, the redundant two main controllers 10a-b are directly connected to the converter arm 1, to four converter cells 6a-b, 6y-z.

[0053] The embodiment illustrated in Fig 2B is similar to the embodiment illustrated in Fig 2A. Here, however, there is a single main controller 10 with four individual connections from the main controller to the four connections to the connected converter cells 6a-b, 6y-z. This embodiment provides a simpler and less expensive solution compared to the embodiment of Fig 2A.

[0054] Fig 3A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating structures of a converter arm of the converter device of Fig 1 according to two embodiments. These embodiment is similar to the embodiment of Figs 2A-B, but also comprising shortcut connections 15a-b. First, the embodiment of Fig 3A will be described.

[0055] A first shortcut connection 15a is provided between a first converter cell 6c and a second converter cell 6y. In order to make the shortcut connection 15a a shortcut, the first and second converter cells 6c,y are not neighbouring converter cells.

[0056] Optionally, a second shortcut connection 15b is provided between a third converter cell 6b and a fourth converter cell 6x. Also here, in order to make the shortcut connection 15b a shortcut, the third and fourth converter cells 6b,x are not neighbouring converter cells.

[0057] It is to be noted that shortcut connections can be placed between any two converter cells.

[0058] The converter cells connected to the shortcut connections 15a-b treat the signal connection just like any other of the signal connections and receive and/or forward signals on this input in the same way as for the other signal connections.

[0059] Using the shortcuts 15a-b, and since there is a small delay introduced for each time a signal passes through a control cell, the maximum delay for a signal to be propagated from one of the main controllers 10a-b to all converter cells is reduced. This can be particularly useful e.g. for blocking messages. Optionally, more shortcut connections can be provided to further reduce the maximum delay for the signal propagation.

[0060] All converter cells connected to a shortcut connection 15a-b have an additional signal connection, and thus have (at least) four signal inputs.

[0061] Looking now to Fig 3B, this is similar to the embodiment shown in Fig 3A, but there are here two arm controllers 12a-b, which control switching in the converter arm 1, based on signals from the main controllers 10a-b. In this embodiment, there is redundancy in the main controllers 10a-b as well as the arm controllers 12a-b. The converter cells 6a-z are all controllable from either one of the main controllers 10a-b as well as either one of the arm controllers 12a-b. The arm controllers 12a-b could also be applied for other embodiments, such as those depicted in Figs 2A-B and described above, where the arm controllers would be provided between the main controller(s) and the converter cells.

[0062] Fig 4A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating the structure of two embodiments of a converter cell 6 of Figs 2A-B or Figs 3A-B. Fig 4A shows one embodiment of a converter cell 6 that can be any one of the converter cells of Figs 2A-B and any one of the converter cells of Figs 3A-B which are not connected to a shortcut connection, i.e. a converter cell with three signal connections.

[0063] The converter cell 6 comprises a cell controller 2 and a switching cell 32. The cell controller 2 is connected to three signal connections 14a-c, to receive and/or forward signals to neighbouring converter cells and/or a main controller, as described above. Each signal connection 14a-c can for example be configured to send and/or receive signals using an optical fibre, e.g. using EtherCAT, or any other suitable communication protocol.

[0064] When a signal is received on any one of the signal connections 14a-c, the cell controller 2 forwards the signal to the switching cell 32 and to all other signal connections (other than the signal connection over which the signal was received), as long as the signal has not been received before. In this way, any input signal is flooded to all signal connections.

[0065] Fig 4B is illustrates another embodiment of a converter cell 6 that can be any one of the converter cells of Figs 3A-B which is connected to a shortcut connection, i.e. a converter cell with four signal connections. The converter cell 6 in this embodiment is similar to the controller cell in the embodiment of Fig 4A. In this embodiment though, there are four signal connections 14a-d, to be able to accommodate also a signal connection over a shortcut connection.

[0066] Fig 5 is a schematic diagram illustrating communication of time references between nodes of the converter device. Each one of the nodes 11a-c can be any node in the converter device 8 described above. For instance, the nodes can be any one of the converter cells, the arm controllers or the main controllers 10a-b.

[0067] In this figure, the perspective is from a first node 11a, which receives a time reference from a second node 11b. The first node 11a, in turn, supplies a time reference to a third node 11c, based on the received time reference. It is to be noted that the second node 11b and the third node 11c can act like the first node in another context.

[0068] The nodes 11a-c can be any nodes in the converter device. Examples of nodes are main controllers, arm controllers and converter cells. Time references can thus e.g. be communicated from a main controller to an arm controller, from a main controller to a converter cell, from a main controller to another main controller, from an arm controller to a converter cell, and from a converter cell to a converter cell.

[0069] The time references mentioned here are transmitted using the signals described above.

[0070] Fig 6 is a flow chart illustrating for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes in a converter device. The method is performed in a first node of the converter device, see e.g. the first node 11a of Fig 5.

[0071] In a receive time reference step 40, the first node receives a time reference from a second node. In the converter device, there is a master clock source upon which a plurality of time references in the converter device is based. In fact, all time references in the converter device can be based on the master clock source. In this way, all of these clocks will be synchronised when each node (except the source node of the master clock source) performs this method. The master clock source can e.g. be one of the main controllers.

[0072] In an obtain delay value step 42, the first node obtains a delay value for receiving time references from the second node. The delay value can consider both a communication delay and a processing delay. The processing delay can relate to the second node, the first node or both nodes. The delay value can be e.g. based on measuring a the time of transmitting a signal to a neighbour node and receiving a response.

[0073] In a determine compensated time step 44, the first node determines a compensated time by adding the delay value to the time reference.

[0074] In a set clock step 46, the first node sets a clock in the first node to be the compensated time.

[0075] In send time step 48, the first node sends the compensated time as a time reference to a third node. Optionally, there is a hop counter in the received time reference. In the time reference sent in this step, the hop counter is increased by one. Optionally, this step is only performed if the hop counter is less than a predetermined value. In this way, there is a defined end to forwarding of time references between nodes in the converter device. In one embodiment, each instance of received time reference has an identifier, in which case this step is only performed if the received time reference has not been received previously.

[0076] Optionally, the first node sends a confirmation message that the time has been set, as a response to the node from which the time reference was received. When this signal is forwarded, as described above, through the converter device for all nodes, the main controller can keep track of all the nodes having an up-to-date time setting.

[0077] By adding the delay value to the reference time in the node itself, the compensated time can form a time reference for any downstream nodes. In this way, each node will have a synchronised time, regardless of the number of hops from the original source of the reference time.

[0078] Fig 7 is a schematic diagram illustrating components of any one of the nodes of Fig 5 according to one embodiment. It is to be noted that one or more of the mentioned components can be shared with other functions of the node. A processor 60 is provided using any combination of one or more of a suitable central processing unit (CPU), multiprocessor, microcontroller, digital signal processor (DSP), etc., capable of executing software instructions 67 stored in a memory 64, which can thus be a computer program product. The processor 60 could alternatively be implemented using an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), field programmable gate array (FPGA), etc. The processor 60 can be configured to execute the method described with reference to Fig 6 above.

[0079] The memory 64 can be any combination of random access memory (RAM) and/or read only memory (ROM). The memory 64 also comprises persistent storage, which, for example, can be any single one or combination of magnetic memory, optical memory, solid-state memory or even remotely mounted memory.

[0080] A data memory 66 is also provided for reading and/or storing data during execution of software instructions in the processor 60. The data memory 66 can be any combination of RAM and/or ROM.

[0081] The node 11 further comprises an I/O interface 62 for communicating with external and/or internal entities. Optionally, the I/O interface 62 also includes a user interface.

[0082] Other components of the node 11 are omitted in order not to obscure the concepts presented herein.

[0083] Fig 8 shows one example of a computer program product comprising computer readable means. On this computer readable means, a computer program 91 can be stored, which computer program can cause a processor to execute a method according to embodiments described herein. In this example, the computer program product is an optical disc, such as a CD (compact disc) or a DVD (digital versatile disc) or a Blu-Ray disc. As explained above, the computer program product could also be embodied in a memory of a device, such as the computer program product 91 of Fig 7. While the computer program 91 is here schematically shown as a track on the depicted optical disk, the computer program can be stored in any way which is suitable for the computer program product, such as a removable solid state memory, e.g. a Universal Serial Bus (USB) drive.

[0084] Figs 9A-B are schematic diagrams illustrating embodiments of switching cells 32 of the converter cells of Figs 4A-B. A switching cell 32 is a combination of one or more semiconductor switches, such as transistors, and one or more energy storing elements, such as capacitors, supercapacitors, inductors, batteries, etc. Optionally, a switching cell can be a multilevel converter structure such as a flying capacitor or MPC (Multi-Point-Clamped) or ANPC (Active - Neutral-Point-Clamped) multilevel structure. Optionally, a gate unit is provided for each semiconductor switch to condition an input signal to a format suitable and/or optimal for the connected semiconductor switch.

[0085] Fig 9A illustrates a switching cell 32 implementing a half bridge structure. The switching cell 32 here comprises a leg of two serially connected active components in the form of switches 40a-b, e.g. IGBTs (Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors), IGCTs (Insulated Gate-Commutated Thyristors), GTOs (Gate Turn-Off thyristors), etc. A leg of two serially connected diodes 42a-b is connected with the leg of serially connected switches 40a-b as shown in the figure, in effect in parallel with the two switches 40a-b. An energy storage component 41 is also provided in parallel with the leg of transistors 40a-b and with the leg of diodes 32a-b. The voltage synthesized by the switching cell can thus either be zero or the voltage of the energy storage component 41.

[0086] Fig 9B illustrates a switching cell 32 implementing a full bridge structure. The switching cell 32 here comprises four switches 40a-d, e.g. IGBTs, IGCTs, GTOs, etc. An energy storage component 41 is also provided in parallel across a first leg of two transistors 40a-b and a second leg of two transistors 40c-d. Compared to the half bridge of Fig 9A, the full bridge structure allows the synthesis of a voltage capable of assuming both signs, whereby the voltage of the switching cell can either be zero, the voltage of the energy storage component 41, or a reversed voltage of the energy storage component 41. Respective diodes 42a-d are provided in parallel with the switches 40a-d, e.g. in an antiparallel fashion.

[0087] In Figs 9A-B, a switch with a parallel diode can be provided together, e.g. using a Reverse Conducting (RC) IGBT, RC-IGCT or BiGT (Bi-mode Insulated Gate Transistor).

[0088] It is to be noted that while the switching cell 32 is exemplified in Figs 9A-B using a half bridge cell and a full bridge switching cell, the embodiments presented herein are not limited to these examples and are applicable with any suitable configuration of a switching cell.

[0089] The aspects of the present disclosure have mainly been described above with reference to a few embodiments. However, as is readily appreciated by a person skilled in the art, other embodiments than the ones disclosed above are equally possible within the scope of the invention, as defined by the appended patent claims.


Claims

1. A method for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes (11a-c) of a converter device (8) for high voltage power conversion, wherein each of the plurality of nodes comprises a processor (60) and a memory (64), the method being performed in a first node (11a) which comprises a power converter cell (6) of the converter device (8) and the method comprising the steps of:

receiving (40) a time reference from a second node (11b);

obtaining (42) a delay value for receiving time references from the second node (11b);

determining (44) a compensated time by adding the delay value to the time reference;

setting (46) a clock in the first node to be the compensated time; and

sending (48) the compensated time as a time reference to a third node (11c).


 
2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the delay value considers both a communication delay and a processing delay.
 
3. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein there is a master clock source upon which a plurality of time references in the converter device (8) is based.
 
4. The method according to claim 3, wherein all time references in the converter device (8) are based on the master clock source.
 
5. A first node (11a) for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes (11a-c) of a converter device (8) for high voltage power conversion, wherein each of the plurality of nodes comprises a processor (60) and a memory (64), the plurality of nodes comprising the first node (11a) which comprises a power converter cell (6) of the converter device (8), the
memory (64) of the first node storing instructions (67) that, when executed by the processor, enable the first node (11a) to:

receive a time reference from a second node (11b);

obtain a delay value for receiving time references from the second node (11b);

determine a compensated time by adding the delay value to the time reference;

set a clock in the first node to be the compensated time; and send

(48) the compensated time as a time reference to a third node (11c).


 
6. The first node (11a) according to claim 5, wherein the delay value considers both a communication delay and a processing delay.
 
7. The first node (11a) according to claim 5 or 6, wherein there is a master clock source upon which a plurality of time references in the converter device (8) is based.
 
8. The first node (11a) according to claim 7, wherein all time references in the converter device (8) are based on the master clock source.
 
9. A computer program (67, 91) for synchronising time between a plurality of nodes (11a-c) of a converter device (8) for high voltage power conversion, wherein each of the plurality of nodes comprises a processor (60) and a memory (64), the plurality of nodes comprising a first node (11a) which comprises a power converter cell (6) of the converter device (8), the computer program comprising computer program code which, when run on the first node (11a) enables the first node (11a) to:

receive a time reference from a second node (11b);

obtain a delay value for receiving time references from the second node (11b);

determine a compensated time by adding the delay value to the time reference;

set a clock in the first node to be the compensated time; and

send the compensated time as a time reference to a third node (11c).


 
10. A computer program product (64, 90) comprising a computer program according to claim 9 and a computer readable means on which the computer program is stored.
 


Ansprüche

1. Verfahren zum Synchronisieren einer Zeit zwischen einer Vielzahl von Knoten (lla-c) einer Wandlervorrichtung (8) für eine Hochspannungsleistungsumwandlung, wobei jeder der Vielzahl von Knoten einen Prozessor (60) und einen Speicher (64) umfasst, wobei das Verfahren in einem ersten Knoten (11à), der eine Leistungswandlerzelle (6) der Wandlervorrichtung (8) umfasst, durchgeführt wird und das Verfahren folgende Schritte umfasst:

Empfangen (40) einer Zeitreferenz von einem zweiten Knoten (11b);

Erhalten (42) eines Verzögerungswerts zum Empfangen von Zeitreferenzen vom zweiten Knoten (11b);

Bestimmen (44) einer kompensierten Zeit durch Addieren des Verzögerungswerts zur Zeitreferenz;

Einstellen (46) eines Takts im ersten Knoten als die kompensierte Zeit; und

Senden (48) der kompensierten Zeit als eine Zeitreferenz an einen dritten Knoten (11c).


 
2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Verzögerungswert sowohl eine Kommunikationsverzögerung als auch eine Verarbeitungsverzögerung berücksichtigt.
 
3. Verfahren nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei eine Mastertaktquelle, auf der eine Vielzahl von Zeitreferenzen in der Wandlervorrichtung (8) basiert, vorhanden ist.
 
4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 3, wobei alle Zeitreferenzen in der Wandlervorrichtung (8) auf der Mastertaktquelle basieren.
 
5. Erster Knoten (11a) zum Synchronisieren einer Zeit zwischen einer Vielzahl von Knoten (lla-c) einer Wandlervorrichtung (8) für eine Hochspannungsleistungsumwandlung, wobei jeder der Vielzahl von Knoten einen Prozessor (60) und einen Speicher (64) umfasst, wobei die Vielzahl von Knoten den ersten Knoten (11a) umfasst, der eine Leistungswandlerzelle (6) der Wandlervorrichtung (8) umfasst, wobei der Speicher (64) des ersten Knotens Anweisungen (67) speichert, die, wenn sie durch den Prozessor ausgeführt werden, ermöglichen, dass der erste Knoten (11a) Folgendes durchführt:

Empfangen einer Zeitreferenz von einem zweiten Knoten (11b);

Erhalten eines Verzögerungswerts zum Empfangen von Zeitreferenzen vom zweiten Knoten (11b);

Bestimmen einer kompensierten Zeit durch Addieren des Verzögerungswerts zur Zeitreferenz;

Einstellen eines Takts im ersten Knoten als die kompensierte Zeit; und

Senden (48) der kompensierten Zeit als eine Zeitreferenz an einen dritten Knoten (11c).


 
6. Erster Knoten (11a) nach Anspruch 5, wobei der Verzögerungswert sowohl eine Kommunikationsverzögerung als auch eine Verarbeitungsverzögerung berücksichtigt.
 
7. Erster Knoten (11a) nach Anspruch 5 oder 6, wobei eine Mastertaktquelle, auf der eine Vielzahl von Zeitreferenzen in der Wandlervorrichtung (8) basiert, vorhanden ist.
 
8. Erster Knoten (11a) nach Anspruch 7, wobei alle Zeitreferenzen in der Wandlervorrichtung (8) auf der Mastertaktquelle basieren.
 
9. Computerprogramm (67, 91) zum Synchronisieren einer Zeit zwischen einer Vielzahl von Knoten (lla-c) einer Wandlervorrichtung (8) für eine Hochspannungsleistungsumwandlung, wobei jeder der Vielzahl von Knoten einen Prozessor (60) und einen Speicher (64) umfasst, wobei die Vielzahl von Knoten einen ersten Knoten (11a) umfasst, der eine Leistungswandlerzelle (6) der Wandlervorrichtung (8) umfasst, wobei das Computerprogramm Computerprogrammcode umfasst, der, wenn er im ersten Knoten (11a) laufen gelassen wird, ermöglicht, dass der erste Knoten (11a) Folgendes durchführt:

Empfangen einer Zeitreferenz von einem zweiten Knoten (11b);

Erhalten eines Verzögerungswerts zum Empfangen von Zeitreferenzen vom zweiten Knoten (11b);

Bestimmen einer kompensierten Zeit durch Addieren des Verzögerungswerts zur Zeitreferenz;

Einstellen eines Takts im ersten Knoten als die kompensierte Zeit; und

Senden der kompensierten Zeit als eine Zeitreferenz an einen dritten Knoten (11c).


 
10. Computerprogrammprodukt (64, 90), das ein Computerprogramm nach Anspruch 9 und eine computerlesbare Einrichtung, in der das Computerprogramm gespeichert ist, umfasst.
 


Revendications

1. Procédé de synchronisation de temps entre une pluralité de nœuds (lla-c) d'un dispositif convertisseur (8) de conversion de puissance haute tension, dans lequel chacun de la pluralité de nœuds comprend un processeur (60) et une mémoire (64), le procédé étant réalisé dans un premier nœud (11a) qui comprend une cellule de conversion de puissance (6) du dispositif convertisseur (8) et le procédé comprenant les étapes suivantes :

la réception (40) d'une référence temporelle à partir d'un deuxième nœud (11b) ;

l'obtention (42) d'une valeur de retard pour recevoir des références temporelles à partir du deuxième nœud (11b) ;

la détermination (44) d'un temps compensé en ajoutant la valeur de retard à la référence temporelle ;

le réglage (46) d'une horloge dans le premier nœud sur le temps compensé ; et

l'envoi (48) du temps compensé en tant que référence temporelle à un troisième nœud (11c).


 
2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la valeur de retard considère à la fois un retard de communication et un retard de traitement.
 
3. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant une source d'horloge principale sur laquelle est basée une pluralité de références temporelles dans le dispositif convertisseur (8).
 
4. Procédé selon la revendication 3, dans lequel toutes les références temporelles dans le dispositif convertisseur (8) sont basées sur la source d'horloge principale.
 
5. Premier nœud (11a) de synchronisation de temps entre une pluralité de nœuds (lla-c) d'un dispositif convertisseur (8) de conversion de puissance haute tension, dans lequel chacun de la pluralité de nœuds comprend un processeur (60) et une mémoire (64), la pluralité de nœuds comprenant le premier nœud (11a), qui comprend une cellule de conversion de puissance (6) du dispositif convertisseur (8), la mémoire (64) du premier nœud stockant des instructions (67) qui, à leur exécution par le processeur, permettent au premier nœud (11a) de :

recevoir une référence temporelle à partir d'un deuxième nœud (11b) ;

obtenir une valeur de retard pour recevoir les références temporelles à partir du deuxième nœud (11b) ;

déterminer un temps compensé en ajoutant la valeur de retard à la référence temporelle ;

régler une horloge dans le premier nœud sur le temps compensé ; et

envoyer (48) le temps compensé en tant que référence temporelle à un troisième nœud (11c).


 
6. Premier nœud (11a) selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la valeur de retard considère à la fois un retard de communication et un retard de traitement.
 
7. Premier nœud (11a) selon la revendication 5 ou 6, comprenant une source d'horloge maître sur laquelle est basée une pluralité de références temporelles dans le dispositif convertisseur (8).
 
8. Premier nœud (11a) selon la revendication 7, dans lequel toutes les références temporelles dans le dispositif convertisseur (8) sont basées sur la source d'horloge principale.
 
9. Programme d'ordinateur (67, 91) de synchronisation de temps entre une pluralité de nœuds (lla-c) d'un dispositif convertisseur (8) de conversion de puissance haute tension, dans lequel chacun de la pluralité de nœuds comprend un processeur (60) et une mémoire (64), la pluralité de nœuds comprenant un premier nœud (11a) qui comprend une cellule de conversion de puissance (6) du dispositif convertisseur (8), le programme d'ordinateur comprenant un code de programme d'ordinateur qui, à son exécution sur le premier nœud (11a) permet au premier nœud (11a) de :

recevoir une référence temporelle à partir d'un deuxième nœud (11b) ;

obtenir une valeur de retard pour recevoir les références temporelles à partir du deuxième nœud (11b) ;

déterminer un temps compensé en ajoutant la valeur de retard à la référence temporelle ;

régler une horloge dans le premier nœud sur le temps compensé ; et

envoyer le temps compensé en tant que référence temporelle à un troisième nœud (11c).


 
10. Produit de programme d'ordinateur (64, 90) comprenant un programme d'ordinateur selon la revendication 9 et un moyen lisible par ordinateur sur lequel le programme d'ordinateur est stocké.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description