Inverters are a vital component in the power electronics industry. They convert the direct current (DC) power into alternating current (AC) power that can be used to run electrical devices. The applications of inverters are numerous and varied. It is used in industry, military, agriculture, hospitals, transportation, financial markets, lighting, heating, cooling, etc.
Inverters find applications in induction heating power supply, mine hoists, more electric aircraft, marine propulsion, unified power flow controllers, magnetic resonance imaging system (MRI), critical medical equipment power supplies, electric vehicles, active filters, dynamic voltage restorers, variable frequency drives, static compensators (STATCOMs), high-voltage direct current (HVDC) system, pumped storage power plant, flexible alternating current transmission system (FACTs), renewable energy resources integration with the grid, satellite systems, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), wind farms, grid-connected or standalone solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, military, home, offices, etc.
Applications of Inverters | Uses of Inverter
Inverters are used to convert DC power into AC power. Inverters have a wide range of applications across many different industries. Some of them are listed below.
1. Marine applications
An inverter can be used in marine water‑pumping applications. It is used to operate an asynchronous motor drive. By using the inverter, power is supplied to the electric motor (induction motor) that is responsible for driving the ship’s seawater cooling pump. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are used as a source.
2. Automotive traction applications
Multilevel inverters are used in automotive traction applications. It is used to power the motor drive. MLI converts the DC power of batteries to AC power. This AC power is then fed to the motor and hence transforms it into propulsion power.
3. Vehicle-to-X (V2X) applications
Inverters are used in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications. Using V2G technology, electric vehicles are able to send energy back to the grid through their batteries.
Inverters are used in vehicle-to-home (V2H) applications. A V2H technology allows the battery of an electric vehicle to provide energy back to the home.
Inverters are used in vehicle-to-building (V2B) applications. By using V2B technology, energy can be transferred from an electric vehicle’s battery to a building.
In all these applications i.e., V2G, V2H, or V2B, inverters are used to transform the DC power of an electric vehicle’s battery to AC power.
4. Uninterruptible power supply
Inverters are used in uninterruptible power supply (UPS). In the event of failure of the power source or mains power, a UPS provides emergency power to a load. The function of the inverter in UPS is the conversion of DC power to AC power.
5. Adjustable-speed drives applications
Inverters are used in adjustable-speed drive applications. A rectifier and an inverter are typically used to control both voltage and frequency applied to a motor, enabling variable-speed operation over a broad range of speeds. By operating fans, pumps, compressors, etc., at a variable speed, significant energy savings can be achieved.
6. Integration of renewable energy resources to the grid
Inverters play an important role while integrating renewable energy resources to the grid. Renewable resources can be solar, wind, hydro, etc. The main function of an inverter is to convert DC power generated from these renewable energy resources to AC power. This AC power is fed to the grid.
7. High-voltage direct current (HVDC)
HVDC transmission lines are more advantageous for bulk power transmission than HVAC transmission lines. This transmission network converts AC power into DC using a rectifier and transmits this DC power over long distances. At the receiving end of the transmission line, the power is converted into AC by inverters. It is necessary for the inverter to be synchronized with the grid frequency and phase as well as to minimize harmonic generation.