A Voltage Divider based Auxiliary Power Unit for Power Electronic Converters

A more reliable, less complex, and cost effective concept for providing auxiliary power to high voltage electronic converters without external power sources.

The Need

Power electronic converters need a certain type of auxiliary power unit to provide electric power to their controllers, gate-driving circuits and/or sensors. For power electronic converters used in high voltage systems, the auxiliary power unit is difficult to design and fabricate due to massive electrical insulation requirements. Current methods to supply auxiliary power to high voltage converters, their controllers, gate-driving circuits, and sensors are complex, expensive, and unreliable. Therefore, less costly and more reliable methods to supply auxiliary power to high voltage converters are strongly needed.

The Technology

Inventors at the Ohio State University, led by Dr. Jin Wang, have developed a new method for providing auxiliary power to high-voltage multi-level electronic converters. Rather than using a centralized power supply, this novel unit uses a voltage divider concept that produces auxiliary power directly from the local DC bus capacitor. Therefore, insulation demands for this approach will be significantly lower than conventional electronic converters that use a centralized power supply. When this technology is used in conjunction with advanced circuit designs, the circuit component counts and control algorithm complexity can be reduced to minimize production cost and improve operation reliablity. This unique voltage-divider based auxiliary power unit is expected to be cost-effective, more reliable, and less complex than current technologies.

Commercial Applications

  • Power Supplies
  • High voltage systems


  • Higher reliability, simpler, and less expensive than current technologies
  • Simple circuit structure and control alorithm to shorten the development cycle
  • Lower insulation requirement than the current state of the art

Research Interests

The High Voltage and Power Electronics Laboratory, led by Dr. Jin Wang, is the only one of its kind among the universities in the Midwest. Its operations are strongly supported and heavily utilized by electric power related industries. The power electronics facilities are unique to the universities in the state of Ohio and belong to only a handful of power electronics labs in the United States that deal with high-voltage high-power applications.

The research in power electronics area is aimed at integrating renewable energy and electrification of transportation. The combined research of high voltage and power electronics is geared towards large scale megawatt implementations of renewable energy sources and energy storage devices.


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