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Current measurement on circuit breakers

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20200204001
Publication Date: 4 February 2020

Summary

A German university offers a method for current measurement in half-bridge topologies. The method is effective, compact and inexpensive. There is only a minimal disruptive influence on the switching characteristics of power electronic breakers. A prototype is available. Industrial partners from energy, electric vehicle and power industries are sought for licensing agreements.

Description

A number of different instrument transformers are used to determine voltage and current in regulated power electronics. Current measurement becomes more and more difficult with increasing current intensity, especially since the switching frequencies increase due to the use of modern, e.g. Gallium nitride (GaN), transistors and since parasitic properties of the sensors must be minimized.

A german university has developed a new current measurement solution. It is shown in figure 1 in a typical half-bridge circuit is based on the concept of an easily implemented digital current observer and the use of an auxiliary winding K1 on the already existing power choke L and only a single current transformer K2. A low-cost digital signal processor (DSP) contains the typical digital control of the half-bridge circuit as well as the easily implemented current observer, which is largely processed in a standard peripheral unit of the DSP and therefore requires very few additional resources.

The effectiveness of the digital current observer in low power bridge circuits was verified in experiments. Simulations, evaluations and analyses of the latest current observer show that the measurement with such a digital current observer can also be used for high power applications.
This insulating current measurement concept for bridge topologies therefore enables a cost-effective and compact measurement method which at the same time has only a minimal disruptive influence on the switching characteristics of power electronic breakers.

Industrial partners and energy suppliers are sought for license agreements that could also include joint technical development to take the development from prototype to the market.
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Advantages and Innovations

Compared to conventional methods, the new current measurement technology has  smaller space requirements,  lower parasitic effects and lower losses.
Further advantages are that the circuitry is simple and that the solution is inexpensive.

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

Functionality demonstrated
Technology readiness level (TRL) 4

Requested partner

The university offers interested companies the opportunity to license and develop the technology. The functionality of the technology could also be demonstrated metrologically on the basis of the implemented prototype and through a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) validation project.
Potential licensees are from the areas of electrical engineering, power electronics, energy supply and electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles as well as plugin hybrid electric vehicles.
They should be interested in implementing and further developing the solution.

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