To main content

Feasible power electronics for demanding deepwater applications

”Establish fundamental competence on new and pioneering concepts for realizing power electronic converters for deepwater applications. The developed know-how will give Norwegian vendors and oil companies new possibilities for realizing future challenging oil and gas projects”

Contact person

Power electronics curcuit
Power electronics curcuit Photo: SINTEF

Sub goals:

  1. Provide a review of the major weaknesses and uncertainties of the today's concepts for high power converters for deepwater applications.
  2. Clarify the operability of pressurized (200 bar) power circuit and driver circuit components through cooperation with manufacturers and by testing components in laboratory.
  3. Demonstrate possible new design solutions by use of pressurized power circuits and transistor driver circuits
  4. Provide methodologies and guidelines for qualified pressurized converter designs, including support for upgrading of specifications
  5. Accomplish a PhD degree within liquid dielectrica for pressurized power electronics

Benefits by exposing power circuit to ambient pressure

  • Weight and volume of pressure chamber significantly reduced
  • Electric power penetrators significantly reduced due to reduced numbers of connections between pressure compensated and 1 bar chambers
  • Enables less complex and more reliable cooling system (e.g. direct conductive cooling, eliminating pumps, heat exchanger etc.)
  • Reduced cost for subsea VSD A design which take advantages of the benefits listed above will be simpler and reduce the costs for subsea VSD
  • Increased reliability A simpler design with less components will probably result in higher reliability.

Industrial relevance

  • Future oil and gas development projects call for reliable power electronics:
    • Small and medium power (0.1-100 kW) supplies for electronics, actuators etc.
    • High power converters (0.1-100MW) for variable speed drives.
  • Ongoing projects, e.g. Ormen Lange, have revealed that frequency converter is the Achilles' heel when it comes to obtaining reliable and feasible solutions.
    • The challenges are related to obtaining satisfactory reliability figures and obtaining manageable size, weight and costs.
  • One goal for this project was to prove that critical components can operate with satisfactory reliability in high pressure environment
    • This will open up for the realization of quite new concepts for realizing more manageable converters, also including more confidence when it comes to reliability
  • The results from the project will be accessible for the supplier industry joining the project.
    • Especially will the results from the work-package be available for manufacturers of power electronic converters joining the project

Key Factors

Project duration

2009 - 2012