Mitsubishi Electric to Build HVDC Verification Facility in Amagasaki

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Electric Corporation plans to enter the global market for voltage-sourced converters (VSC) based high-voltage direct current (HVDC) systems with a new HVDC verification facility to be built at its Transmission and Distribution Center in Amagasaki, Japan, by 2018.

The company said it is targeting more than USD 500 million in global orders for HVDC -Diamond systems by 2020.

HVDC systems are expected to reduce CO2 through the efficient integration and expansion of renewable energies, such as photovoltaic and offshore wind power. HVDC-Diamond systems will utilize the company’s own high-voltage insulated gate bipolar transistors (HVIGBT).

HVIGBT devices are insulated for high voltage and designed for large current ratings to reduce the number of sub-modules, resulting in space and cost savings, the company said. The parallel connectivity of the HVIGBT devices in each sub-module allows for a flexible design to meet wide-ranging needs for power transmission capacities in the global market for VSC-based HVDC systems.

HVDC-Diamond is expected to offer high reliability through the use of high speed control and protection systems. Optimized control functions with appropriate hardware configuration will comply with system requirements for stable and continuous operation, even during faults on the AC network such as lightning strikes. Protection systems with high speed response will ensure all equipment can be effectively protected from high currents generated at the time of DC faults within the HVDC system, Mitsubishi Electric said.

There are two types of HVDC systems; the line-commutated converter (LCC) type requires an external power source for commutation, while the VSC type does not. VSC-based HVDC systems are expected to be in greater demand with a more compact footprint as a result of having the innate ability of separately controlling active and reactive power. This advantage allows for applying VSC-based HVDC in weak systems and removes the need for additional reactive compensation from harmonic filters and other reactive voltage support, according to the company.