Ice covering on overhead transmission lines would cause damage to transmission system and long-term power outage. Among various de-icing devices, a modular multilevel converter based direct-current (DC)de-icer (MMC-DDI) is recognized as a promising solution due to its excellent technical performance. Its principle feasibility has been well studied, but only a small amount of literature discusses its economy or hardware optimization. To fill this gap, this paper presents a quantitative analysis and calculation on the converter characteristics of MMC-DDI. It reveals that, for a given DC de-icing requirement, the converter rating varies greatly with its alternating-current (AC) -side voltage, and it sometimes far exceeds the melting power. To reduce converter rating and improve its economy, an optimized configuration is proposed in which a proper transformer should be configured on the input AC-side of converter under certain conditions. This configuration is verified in an MMC-DDI for a 500 kV transmission line as a case study. The result shows, in the case of outputting the same de-icing characteristics, the optimized converter is reduced from 151 MVA to 68 MVA, and the total cost of the MMC-DDI system is reduced by 48%. This conclusion is conducive to the design optimization of multilevel DC de-icer and then to its engineering application.
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