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Doubly-fed electric machine

The meaning of «doubly-fed electric machine»

Doubly-fed electric machines also slip-ring generators are electric motors or electric generators, where both the field magnet windings and armature windings are separately connected to equipment outside the machine.

By feeding adjustable frequency AC power to the field windings, the magnetic field can be made to rotate, allowing variation in motor or generator speed. This is useful, for instance, for generators used in wind turbines.[1] DFIG-based wind turbines, because of their flexibility and ability to control active and reactive power, are almost the most interesting wind turbine technology.[2][3]

Doubly fed electrical generators are similar to AC electrical generators, but have additional features which allow them to run at speeds slightly above or below their natural synchronous speed. This is useful for large variable speed wind turbines, because wind speed can change suddenly. When a gust of wind hits a wind turbine, the blades try to speed up, but a synchronous generator is locked to the speed of the power grid and cannot speed up. So large forces are developed in the hub, gearbox, and generator as the power grid pushes back. This causes wear and damage to the mechanism. If the turbine is allowed to speed up immediately when hit by a wind gust, the stresses are lower with the power from the wind gust still being converted to useful electricity.

One approach to allowing wind turbine speed to vary is to accept whatever frequency the generator produces, convert it to DC, and then convert it to AC at the desired output frequency using an inverter. This is common for small house and farm wind turbines. But the inverters required for megawatt-scale wind turbines are large and expensive.

Doubly fed generators are another solution to this problem. Instead of the usual field winding fed with DC, and an armature winding where the generated electricity comes out, there are two three-phase windings, one stationary and one rotating, both separately connected to equipment outside the generator. Thus, the term doubly fed is used for this kind of machines.

One winding is directly connected to the output, and produces 3-phase AC power at the desired grid frequency. The other winding (traditionally called the field, but here both windings can be outputs) is connected to 3-phase AC power at variable frequency. This input power is adjusted in frequency and phase to compensate for changes in speed of the turbine.[4]

Adjusting the frequency and phase requires an AC to DC to AC converter. This is usually constructed from very large IGBT semiconductors. The converter is bidirectional, and can pass power in either direction. Power can flow from this winding as well as from the output winding.[5]

With its origins in wound rotor induction motors with multiphase winding sets on the rotor and stator, respectively, that was invented by Nikola Tesla in 1888,[6] the rotor winding set of the doubly-fed electric machine is connected to a selection of resistors via multiphase slip rings for starting. However, the slip power was lost in the resistors. Thus means to increase the efficiency in variable speed operation by recovering the slip power were developed. In Krämer (or Kraemer) drives the rotor was connected to an AC and DC machine set that fed a DC machine connected to the shaft of the slip ring machine.[7] Thus the slip power was returned as mechanical power and the drive could be controlled by the excitation currents of the DC machines. The drawback of the Krämer drive is that the machines need to be overdimensioned in order to cope with the extra circulating power. This drawback was corrected in the Scherbius drive where the slip power is fed back to the AC grid by motor generator sets.[8][9]

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