High power, high efficiency, low cost DC/DC converters for laser test equipment and residential fuel cell applications

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering


In this work two low cost, high efficiency, high power DC/DC converters are developed. The first converter is targeted for industrial laser applications. The converter is designed for a 400 volt input voltage and a 0-36V output voltage and 0-40A output with a maximum power output of 1500 watts at a cost less than $0.30 / watt. To achieve a high efficiency and low cost at this power level a zero-voltage switched full bridge converter is used. This technology increases the efficiency of the converter past 90% while reducing the size of the components. The converter was built and tested and achieved a 91.5% efficiency at full load. The total cost was $0.28 / watt. This converter met all the design goals while exceeding the cost goals. The second converter is targeted for residential fuel cell applications. This converter utilizes the technology developed for the industrial converter. This residential converter is designed for an input of 26-42 volts at 190 amps and an output of 400 volts and 12 amps at a power level of 5000 watts while maintaining a $40/kilowatt cost goal. To achieve the low cost and high efficiency design goals the converter uses several technologies in its construction. Like the converter for industrial applications this converter utilizes zero voltage switching full bridge converter. To compensate for the high input current a unique multiphase design was designed for the application. A unique parallel input / series output topology and three interleaved converters split the input current to increase the efficiency of the converter. This unique topology increases the switching frequency on the secondary side which reduces the side of the passive components, reducing cost. The converter was built and tested at a light load to verify its operation versus the theory. An estimated 96% efficiency at full load is possible using this topology. The total cost was $39 / kilowatt.




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