Solar array regulator based on step-up and down conversion and solar power system comprising the same
|550 - Abstract:|
|The European Space Agency (ESA) developed a solar power system including an innovative regulator. Such regulator improves the power conversion between the solar array and the battery. This invention has an increased efficiency over previous offerings, leading cheaper power systems that dissipate less energy. It also allows more flexibility in the design of the solar arrays, as the technology can accommodate for different configurations without the need to redesign the whole regulator. License agreements are sought.|
Description of the offer:
The proposed regulator significantly reduces the losses and the costs with respect to current solutions. This solar array regulator is based on a step-up and step-down converter that was particularly developed for space applications. Nevertheless it can also be implemented in terrestrial solar arrays, bringing back to Earth the benefits of the strict requirements of space technology.
Such regulator can be integrated in a solar power system as the ones employed in space vehicles. Spacecraft such as satellites and space probes generally include photovoltaic generators intended to supply power to the onboard equipment and to charge the batteries that supply power during eclipses. A solar power system for a spacecraft usually comprises a set of solar arrays, a power bus, a rechargeable battery and one or more regulator circuits for transferring power from the solar arrays to the power bus.
The simplest and most widely used Solar Array Regulators (SARs) are based on Direct Energy Transfer (DET), which means that they directly connect the solar arrays to the power bus. Nevertheless, DETs currently used have some drawbacks as they require specific adaptation of the regulator electronics with the solar array and they also depend on solar array characteristics, that can differ greatly from one equipment to another. Therefore they do not allow for optimum transfer of solar array power.
This innovation aims at providing a step-up/DET/step-down Solar Array Regulator and a solar power system, with several advantages with respect to other solutions. The control loop of the boost power cell is highly stable (solving the so-called “right-half-plane zero problem”), the control system ensures smooth transition between different operation modes (step-up, step-down, DET), the control system is stable in all operation modes, e.g. In battery management mode, but also when operating on the voltage and current region of the solar array in MPPT (maximum power point tracking) mode, in the event of a failure, simultaneous operation of the step-up and step-down cells is avoided, the complexity of the system is low, particularly in case of analog implementation.
Innovations and advantages of the offer:
The proposed innovative regulator can significantly increase the overall performance when comparing to current systems. As a matter of fact it does not require specific adaptation of the regulator electronics with the solar array, avoiding the costs of customizing the system for each different type of array.
This innovation provides several advantages over current technology. There is a significant reduction of the losses, increasing the overall efficiency and reliability (efficiency does not drop when the difference between the solar array voltage and the bus voltage increases).
Its low complexity and ability to accommodate several solar array designs prove to be the key features that allow a reduction in costs, increasing the marketability of this solution.
Domains of Application:
This type of energy conversion system might impact significantly in the performances of photovoltaic systems and solar energy conversions. It may have also many applications in electronic devices and energy generation and conversion systems.
Last update: 27 February 2013