The PhD is done as part of Radio Frequency Heating (RFHEAT), and Center of Digitized Electronics (CoDE) project at AAU Energy. Modern industrial radio frequency (RF) dielectric heating plants utilize vacuum tube based high frequency power generator that are only 60% efficient. The project aims to replace these inefficient vacuum tube generators with novel wide bandgap (WBG) device based high frequency power converters and increase the efficiency to 95%. However, a comprehensive study of a dielectric heating plant has never been undertaken to provide a turn-key solution. Therefore the project also aims to develop a platform for analysing an industrial RF dielectric heating plant load structure and the necessary modifications required to replace the vacuum tube generator. Furthermore, dielectric heating applications require high voltage and high power which can not be generated by a single converter due to low breakdown voltage of Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices, therefore novel multilevel boost topologies have to be investigated that can generate 10kV or higher output voltage.
Due to involvement of multiple aspects of power electronics converter design, which includes designing converter with clean switching transient at MHz order of switching frequency, achieving soft-switching of semiconductor devices to ensure safe operation area (SOA), controller design for the novel topologies, and overall industrial plant load analysis, significant utilizaion of modeling tools like Solidworks, Altium will be conducted. Furthermore, designs were studied via finite element method (FEM) to develop digital twins that can emulate final hardware performance inclusive of parasitics and thus reduce number of prototype productions. Both ANSYS Electronics Desktop (ED), as well as COMSOL Multiphysics have been extensively used.