Arm-sensorless sub-module voltage estimation and balancing of modular multilevel converters

Md Didarul Islam, Reza Razzaghi, Behrooz Bahrani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Modular Multilevel Converters (MMCs) have established their position as the choice of next-generation high voltage converters. These converters, however, require a bulk number of sensors in each phase for Sub-Modules (SMs) voltage balancing. A limited number of studies are found in the literature where the number of sensors is reduced by incorporating observers to estimate the SM voltages. Nonetheless, most of these methods require accurate measurements of the arm voltage. Thus, the dependency on sensors is not completely eliminated. In this paper, a Kalman-filter-based estimation of SM voltages is presented, which does not require any voltage sensor to measure the arm voltage. Therefore, this method considerably simplifies the implementation of MMCs. Extensive simulations and experimental test cases are conducted to validate the performance of the proposed SM voltage estimation method. The performance assessments verify the accuracy and robustness of the proposed method for various test scenarios performed over a wide range of sampling frequencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-967
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • capacitor voltage balancing
  • Kalman-filter
  • Modular multilevel converter (MMC)
  • phase deposition sinusoidal pulse width modulation (PD-SPWM)
  • sensorless voltage estimation

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