Modelling and design of an eddy current coupling for slip-synchronous permanent magnet wind generators

Mouton, Zac
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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Slip-synchronous permanent magnet generators (SS-PMG) is a recently proposed direct-grid connected direct-drive generator topology for wind power applications. It combines a permanent magnet synchronous generator and a slip permanent magnet generator through a common permanent magnet rotor. In this study the possibility of using an eddy current coupling as the slip permanent magnet generator is investigated. The eddy current coupling has the attractive advantage of completely removing cogging and load torque ripple, which are known problems in the SS-PMG. However, the analytical modelling of the eddy current coupling is complex. Three different topologies are considered for the eddy current coupling. A finite element model is presented for the eddy current coupling. It is shown that 2D finite element methods are inaccurate compared to 3D finite element methods when solving eddy currents in eddy current couplings. In order to test the accuracy of the finite element modelling of a large eddy current coupling a prototype slip rotor is designed to operate with an existing permanent magnet rotor. Two topologies are optimally designed and compared for the slip rotor, using 3D finite element transient simulations. One of the designed topologies is used for the construction of the prototype slip rotor. The manufactured eddy current coupling allows for comparison between the 3D finite element simulations and measured results, which shows an excellent correlation. Based on observations of the 3D finite element simulations an analytical approximation of the eddy current coupling is proposed for low slip frequencies. It is shown that the analytical model is very dependent on the accurate modelling of the eddy current paths in the slip rotor, something that is difficult to determine accurately. An approximation is made, again based on 3D finite element simulations, which allows the accurate modelling of the current paths for different axial lengths. The analytical model is used for rapid design optimisation of both the slip rotor and permanent magnet rotor of the eddy current coupling, for two different eddy current coupling topologies. The optimised eddy current coupling design with the best results is compared to existing slip permanent magnet generator technologies. The eddy current coupling is shown to have the potential to be a feasible alternative to existing slip permanent magnet generator topologies for application in slip-synchronous permanent magnet generators. It has excellent torque versus slip behaviour, and no cogging or load torque ripple. However, the manufacturing and assembly process of the proposed slip rotor has to be improved for the eddy current coupling to be a realistic competitor to the existing slip permanent magnet generator technologies.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die glip-sinkroon permanente magneet generator is ʼn direk-aangedrewe wind generator wat direk aan die krag netwerk gekoppel kan word. Dit kombineer ʼn permanente magneet sinkroon generator en ʼn permanente magneet glip generator deur middel van ʼn gemeenskaplike permanente magneet rotor. In hierdie studie word die moontlike gebruik van ʼn werwelstroom skakel as plaasvervanger vir die permanente magneet glip generator ondersoek. Die werwelstroom skakel het geen vertandings of las draaimoment rimpeling nie, wat bekende probleme vir die glip-sinkroon permanente magneet generator is. Die analitiese modellering van die werwelstroom skakel is egter nie eenvoudig nie. Daar word drie verskillende topologieë oorweeg vir die werwelstroom skakel. ʼn Eindige element model word ontwikkel vir die werwelstroom skakel. Dit word bevind dat 2D eindige element analise onvoldoende is vir die berekening van werwelstrome in die werwelstroom skakel, en gevolglik word 3D eindige element modelle gebruik in hierdie studie. Om die akkuraatheid van die eindige element model te beproef word ʼn prototipe glip rotor optimaal ontwerp deur middel van eindige element analise. Die glip rotor vorm saam met ʼn bestaande permanente magneet rotor ʼn werwelstroom skakel. Vir hierdie ontwerp word twee werwelstroom skakel topologieë gebruik, en met mekaar vergelyk. Die topologie wat beter presteer word gebruik vir die vervaardiging van die glip rotor. ʼn Vergelyking van die gemete waardes van die vervaardigde werwelstroom skakel en die resultate van die 3D eindige element simulasies dui daarop dat die 3D eindige element modellering ʼn baie goeie voorspelling van die werklikheid is. ʼn Analitiese model vir die werwelstroom skakel onder lae glip toestande is ontwikkel deur gebruik te maak van observasies uit die 3D eindige element simulasies. Die analitiese model is baie afhangklik van die modellering van die werwelstrome se stroompaaie, iets wat moeilik is om akkuraat te bepaal. ʼn Benadering word gemaak wat die akkurate modulering van die stroompaaie moontlik maak vir verskillende aksiale lengtes. Die analitiese model word dan gebruik vir vinnige optimering van die werwelstroom skakel se ontwerp vir twee verskillende werwelstroom skakel topologieë. Die geoptimeerde ontwerp wat die beste resultate toon word vergelyk met bestaande permanente magneet glip generators. Dit word gewys dat die werwelstroom skakel die potensiaal het om ʼn uitvoerbare alternatief tot die permanente magneet glip generator te wees, vir gebruik in glip-sinkroon permanente magneet generators. Die werwelstroom skakel toon baie goeie draaimoment teenoor glip gedrag, en het geen vertandings of las draaimoment rimpeling nie. Voordat die werwelstroom generator ʼn realistiese kompeteerder teenoor die bestaande glip-sinkroon tegnologie is, moet daar verbeterde vervaardigings maniere gevind word vir die voorgestelde glip rotor.
Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.
Eddy currents, Finite elements, Wind generators, Cogging torques, Permanent magnets, Dissertations -- Electrical engineering, Theses -- Electrical engineering, Wind power