Modular Multilevel Converter Circulating Current Reduction Using Model Predictive Control

Lazhar Ben-Brahim, Adel Gastli, Mohamed Trabelsi, Khalid A. Ghazi, Mahdi Houchati, Haitham Abu-Rub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)


Modular multilevel converter (MMC) is a promising new topology for high-voltage applications. The MMC is made of several identical submodules. For proper operation, each submodule can be considered as a controlled voltage source where capacitor's voltage should be maintained at a certain level. Besides, the minimization of the circulating current, which does not flow to the load, is crucial for achieving stable and efficient operation of the MMC. The interrelations among the load current, circulating current, and capacitor voltages complicate the MMC control. This paper aims to achieve stable and balanced voltage and current control with reduced circulating current in various operating conditions. The proposed control uses weighted model predictive control based on a normalized cost function to select the inverter switching patterns, which control the load current, while minimizing voltage fluctuation and circulating current. The weighting factors were selected based on minimizing the load-current total harmonic distortion (THD) and circulating current. The analysis is conducted on a low-power case study of single-phase four-cells MMC with possible extension to higher number of cells. The low-power three-level prototype is designed and built to validate this proposed method. Theoretical analysis, simulation, and experimental results are presented and compared. Parameter sensitivity analysis was also conducted. They all confirm the effectiveness of the proposed control method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7386628
Pages (from-to)3857-3866
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016



  • Circulating current
  • modular multilevel converter (MMC)
  • weighted model predictive control (MPC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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