Analysing Efficiency and Reliability of High Speed Drive Inverters using Wide Band Gap Power Devices
Within the project ‘ARIEL’ an electrical turbo compressor unit for fuel cell applications is deeply investigated. The necessary drive inverter is especially designed for high fundamental frequency and high switching frequency to cope with the requirements of the implemented electrical machine. This paper presents investigations on the inverter’s efficiency and its prospective lifetime at different stages of the development. In the design process different wide band gap power semiconductor devices in discrete packages are evaluated in terms of the achievable power density and efficiency, both by simulations and measurements. Finally, an optimised design using surface mount silicon carbide MOSFETs is developed. Compared to a former inverter design using silicon devices in a three-level topology, the power density of the inverter is significantly increased. The lifetime of power electronic systems is often limited by the lifetime of the power semiconductor devices. Based on loss calculations and the resulting temperature swing of the virtual junction the lifetime of the inverter is estimated for the most frequent operating points and for different mission profiles.