Bidirectional DC-DC Converter for Aircraft Electric Energy Storage Systems

  • Thaiyal Ramasamy

Student thesis: Phd


Future aircraft are likely to employ electrically powered actuators for adjusting flight control surfaces, and other high power transient loads. To meet the peak power demands of aircraft electric loads and to absorb regenerated power, an ultracapacitor-based energy storage system is examined in which a bidirectional dual active bridge DC-DC converter is used. This Thesis deals with the analysis, design, development and performance evaluation of the dual active bridge (DAB) converter, which can act as an interface between the ultracapacitor energy storage bank and the aircraft electrical power network. A steady-state analysis is performed for the DAB converter producing equations for the device RMS and average currents and the peak and RMS currents in the coupling inductor. This analysis focuses on understanding converter current shapes and identifying the zero-voltage switching (ZVS) boundary condition. A converter prototype was designed and built and its operation verified through SABER simulations confirming the accuracy of the analysis. Experimental results are included to support the analysis for 7kW, 20 kHz operating conditions giving a measured efficiency of 90%. To enhance the performance of the converter under light-loads, a quasi-square-wave mode of operation is proposed in which a dead-time is introduced either on the transformer primary voltage, or on the transformer secondary voltage, or simultaneously on both transformer primary and secondary. A similar detailed analysis as that for square-wave operation has been undertaken for all three cases and the converter performance was analysed focusing on ZVS operating range, impact of the RMS/peak inductor currents and converter efficiency. The theoretical work was validated through SABER simulations and proof of concept experimental measurements at 1kW, 20 kHz, which resulted in converter efficiency well above 91%. A 9%-17% improvement in efficiency and a 12%-17% improvement in ZVS operating range over square-wave operation are observed for similar operating conditions. Furthermore, a novel bidirectional current control technique for the DAB converter is presented. A SABER simulation has been performed and the converter operation is validated for square-wave and quasi-square-wave modes under steady-state and transient conditions.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRoger Shuttleworth (Supervisor)


  • Bidirectional control
  • Zero-voltage-switching
  • Ultracapacitor energy storage
  • Quasi-Square-Wave
  • Dual Active Bridge

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