Underpinning Power Electronics 2012: Converters Theme

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

Power electronics is a critical enabling technology for a sustainable future, providing a highly efficient means of converting and controlling electrical energy. Its applications cover renewable generation, power transmission and distribution, transport systems, industrial automation and consumer products. To underpin the UK's academic capability in power electronics and to drive forward world-leading advances in the technology, this proposal forms one of four linked programme grant applications which together cover the key areas of Devices, Component Integration, Converters and Drives. The four research themes will be overseen by a coordinating hub, ensuring that the research remains adventurous and well-focused, that there is vigorous and effective inter-theme collaboration, strong industrial engagement and impact. The Converters Theme will focus on two distinct areas of converter technology where the potential exists to make significant gains in performance; the first is in very large scale, high-voltage converters for future power generation and transmission systems, whilst the second is in ultra-compact converters, which are a needed for a wide range of power conversion functions such as on-board vehicles, aircraft, and ships. Increasing the efficiency and extending the voltage / power / overload capability of high voltage converters will make possible the more efficient and reliable delivery of electrical power and enable more effective exploitation of renewable forms of energy. On the other hand, reducing the size of power converters will make possible many low-carbon technology concepts in the transport area such as hybrid / electric vehicles, and the more-electric aircraft and ship.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries of the proposed research include the academic power electronics and power devices communities, and the academic activities in the associated areas of electrical power systems, more-electric transport technologies, materials and manufacturing / fabrication techniques. The research will have direct relevance and benefit to companies in a range of technical service and manufacturing sectors, and these are areas where the UK has significant presence, strength, and capability to exploit new technologies. These include designers and manufacturers of power devices, power module assemblies, passive components, thermal management solutions, and designers and manufacturers of complete converter systems. In addition, the advances in converter performance and functionality that are enabled by the research will be of benefit to system integrators, providing them with the capability to realise new system concepts such as high voltage DC power transmission networks, more effective and efficient power generation from renewable sources, advanced forms of electric vehicle, or electrical systems that reduce the fuel burn of aircraft and ships. Furthermore, the advances in converter topologies, control methods and manufacturing techniques will spill over into the power electronics and motor drives sector more generally, bringing advances in performance and reductions in manufacturing costs. Society more generally will benefit from the continued prosperity of indigenous businesses and will also enjoy sustainability benefits arising from the increased, and more efficient, use of renewable energy sources and the availability and widespread use of low-carbon forms of transport. It is expected that some of these benefits will start to feed into the industrial base within two years of the programme start, with increasing levels of uptake beyond that date.
 
Description This four-year programme involving the universities of Bristol, Imperial, Manchester, Nottingham and Strathclyde has produced almost 70 publications covering advances in grid-scale converters and compact, low voltage converters. Some of the most significant achievements include:
• Thyristor-based architectures with IGBT auxiliary switching legs have been identified to increase the efficiency of very high voltage DC-DC and DC-AC converters.
• Wear-levelling techniques have been identified and assessed for nursing degraded switching cells in modular multi-level converters, thereby extending converter life.
• Analytical switching models have been derived for SiC MOSFET and BJT devices, including the dominant parasitics, enabling rapid simulation and design optimisation.
• Soft-switching topologies have been developed for wide bandgap devices in DC-DC converter and resonant inverter applications, enabling reductions in passive component size.
• A design optimisation framework has been developed for SiC-based DC-AC and DC-DC converters, allowing rapid identification of minimum-size converter designs.
• Highly efficient, load-independent, multi-MHz converter topologies have been developed and demonstrated that enable a step increase in the operating frequency of wireless charging systems.
• A planar interconnect has been devised, providing a compact, low-inductance connection between a power module and DC-link capacitor, enabling very high frequency operation.
Exploitation Route Provide industry with the capability to design and manufacture electrical power conversion and management equipment for a wide range of applications including transport, power generation and supply.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

 
Description The research findings, knowledge and increased understanding arising from the research are informing and underpinning our established industrial links, for example with Rolls-Royce through the UTC in Power Conversion and with GE Grid (formerly Alstom). Furthermore, new collaborations are starting to develop, for example with GaN Systems on high frequency devices and circuits, with RAM Innovations on the manufacture of integrated switching assemblies and with Renishaw on the potential use of additive manufacturing techniques for power electronics. A new collaboration has been established between UoMcr and TT Electronics in which the results of this research project will be used in the development of new power converter solutions for the aerospace industry funded through a KTP programme. The team at Imperial are building on the results of this project to establish a distinctive research activity in wireless power charging, which has gained support from Thales (drone charging) and Goves/Deliveroo (scooter charging).
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Retail,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description APC Power Electronics Spoke Feasibility Study
Amount £75,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 12/2017
 
Description Drone to Drone and Drone to Ground Inductive Power Transfer
Amount £117,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of the UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 09/2017
 
Description Innovate UK, Application Engineering of 3C-SiC power devices
Amount £209,439 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description KTP
Amount £240,146 (GBP)
Funding ID KTP11288 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 04/2022
 
Description KTP
Amount £240,146 (GBP)
Funding ID KTP11288 
Organisation TT-electronics Semelab 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 04/2022
 
Description Power Electronics Centre Cross-Theme Funding (Design Tools)
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Department Centre for Power Electronics
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2016
 
Description Power Electronics Centre Cross-Theme Funding (Structural and Functional Integration - Integrated Drive)
Amount £585,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Department Centre for Power Electronics
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 01/2018
 
Description Responsive mode - Integration of RF Circuits with High Speed GaN Switching on Silicon Substrates
Amount £360,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N016610/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 04/2019
 
Description Rolls-Royce UTC in Power Conversion Systems
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Organisation Rolls Royce Group Plc 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2018
 
Description Underpinning Power Electronics
Amount £1,200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R004137/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2020
 
Description Collaboration with University of Bologna 
Organisation University of Bologna
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research and to produce a paper.
Collaborator Contribution Research and to produce a paper.
Impact The production of the accepted paper: A. Pacini, S. Aldhaher, P. D. Mitcheson and A. Costanzo, Design of a Position-Independent End-to-End Inductive WPT link for Industrial Dynamic Systems, IEEE IMS Conference, Honolulu, USA, 2017.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Components Theme 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Department Centre for Power Electronics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The components theme is working on: health reporting and prognostics at the device/module level, passive component technologies, gate drives, power module construction methods, modelling techniques and design tools.
Collaborator Contribution The converters theme will apply this knowledge / new techniques in a range of converter applications to deliver performance benefits at the system level. The research in the Converters Theme will also help to inform and steer the Component Theme research, for example by identifying component technology pinch points that limit system performance.
Impact Management techniques for multi-level converters. More compact converters with enhanced magnetic components.
Start Year 2016
 
Description GaN Systems joint display stand 
Organisation GaN Systems
Country Canada 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Technical support and technology demonstrators provided by Imperial College for exhibition at trade shows and conferences.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on device characteristics
Impact Helped to stimulate interest in GaN Systems' technology
Start Year 2016
 
Description GaN Systems on high frequency wireless power transfer 
Organisation GaN Systems
Country Canada 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with GaN Systems on high frequency wireless power transfer and production of a paper to be presented at the APEC conference, March 2017.
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration with GaN Systems on high frequency wireless power transfer and production of a paper to be presented at the APEC conference, March 2017.
Impact Paper to be presented at the APEC Conference in March 2017: L. Spaziani, P. D. Mitcheson, G. Haynes, S. Aldhaher, G. Kkelis, J. M. Arteaga and D. C. Yates, Fast switching transistors extend applications for wireless power across all markets, Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC 2017), IEEE, 26-30 March 2017 (Industry Session Presentation).
Start Year 2016
 
Description Michael Merlin 
Organisation University of Toronto
Department Electrical & Computer Engineering
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Analysis and control of high voltage converters, including condition monitoring.
Collaborator Contribution High voltage converter topologies and applications.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2015
 
Description On-going relationship with Alstom (now called GE Grid) 
Organisation Alstom
Department Alstom UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution On-going relationships with Alstom on development of the AAC. This work includes five patents with more in the pipeline
Collaborator Contribution On-going relationships with Alstom on development of the AAC. This work includes five patents with more in the pipeline
Impact This work includes five patents with more in the pipeline.
Start Year 2010
 
Description Panos Kakosimos 
Organisation Technical University of Denmark
Department Department of Electrical Engineering
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Knowledge of high-frequency power electronic converters - specifically the control requirements.
Collaborator Contribution High speed digital control techniques and algorithm programming.
Impact G. Calderon-Lopez, A. Villarruel-Parra, P. Kakosimos, S. K. Ki, R. Todd and A. J. Forsyth. A Comparison of Digital PWM Control Strategies for High Power Interleaved DC-DC Converters. IET PEMD Conf 2016
Start Year 2014
 
Description Wirelessly charged drone 
Organisation Thales Group
Department Thales UK Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Imperial collage working together with Thales on an automated wireless charger for a drone
Collaborator Contribution Thales provided a drone platform and a potential end customer.
Impact Building demonstrator
Start Year 2018
 
Description Xi Lin 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Department Centre for Power Electronics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The collaborator Dr Jianfeng Li from Components Theme is working to build the power module.
Collaborator Contribution Working on the DC connection unit and its connection mechanism.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description (RA) Michael Merlin gave an invited talk during the seminar organised by the EPSRC HVDC Meetings at The University of Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Michael gave an invited talk during the seminar organised by the EPSRC HVDC Meetings at Manchester University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description (RA) Michael Merlin visited and gave talk at the University of Bristol on 30th January 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Knowledge transfer
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description (RA) Michael Merlin visited and gave talks at Warwick University on 11th March 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Knowledge transfer
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 2nd Internal Forum on Research and Technologies for Society and Industry, Sept 2016, Bologna 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited presentation by Paul Micheson on Inductive Power Transfer in the ISM bands.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://apice.unibo.it/xwiki/bin/view/RTSI2016/WebHome
 
Description Automotive Challenge Network in Power Electronics (14-11-18) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited talk on the impact of wide bandgap devices in automotive electrical systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description CIGRE Tutorial 2015 - Prof Tim Green 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Tutorial to the professional community on HVDC system technologies and latest advances.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description CIMTEC 2016, June 2016, Perugia, Italy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 20 minute talk on Alternative Power Sources for Microdevices (including high frequency power electronics work).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://2016.cimtec-congress.org/
 
Description Cheltenham Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Mainly attended by school children and their parents. The converters theme provided an examples of converter hardware for the exhibition and researchers to 'man' the stand. Around 45,000 visitors in total to the festival, with several thousand engaging with or looking at our stand.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/education/what-you-ve-missed/2016-science-for-schools/
 
Description Conference Keynote Lecture - Forsyth / PEMD 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited keynote lecture at the IET PEMD Conf to showcase the research activities and achievements of the Converters Theme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Future Powertrain Conference, Feb 2016, Solihul, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Paul Micheson invited presentation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.claytex.com/events/future-powertrain-conference-2016-24th-25th-february-national-motorcyc...
 
Description HVDC Colloquium, linked with Porto, Barcelona, Cardiff, DTU 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Imperial hosted the HVDC Colloquium, linked with Porto, Barcelona, Cardiff, DTU. Alstom giving plenary. This is an event that has grown out of the Medow FP7 project and has been closed in previous and this year because of funding from the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/medow/training-and-events/hvdc-doctoral-colloquia/
 
Description IEEE International Microwave Symposium 2016, May 2016, San Francisco, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 30min talk on High Frequency Power Electronics for Inductive Power Transfer.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.ims2016.org/
 
Description IET PEMD Network Seminar. Challenging Test Rigs for Power Electronics, Motors and Drives. (29-11-17). 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited presentation: High Speed Power Electronic Converters and Innovative Cooling. (Rebecca Todd)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Imperial organised an open day in their research facilities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Imperial organised an open day in their research facilities addressed to the researchers of the PE centre on 28th July 2015. Talks presented research works done in HVDC, distribution networks and Inductive Power Transfer in addition to lab tours.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Integrated Power Packaging and System Design Conference 5th - 7th April at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation on interconnect prototype work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://iwipp.org/
 
Description NMI Workshop on Additive Manufcturing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited talk to describe the some of the Converters Theme research and the challenges of converter and magnetic component manufacture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description New Scientist Live 28 September - 1 October 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was mainly attended by teenage children with an interest in science and engineering careers. The converters them provided converter hardware for the exhibition and researchers to 'man' the stand. the primary outcome was to attract young people's interest in power electronics. Also participated with Robert Llewelyn - "What's inside the electric car" 1h talk to an audience of over 400.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://live.newscientist.com/
 
Description Passive Components Seminar - Prof Andrew Forsyth 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of recent research results on high frequency converters for automotive applications and the design of magnetic components.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Science Museum Exhibit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Strong engagement from visitors in the exhibit. Plenty of questions asked and good discussion with the researchers manning the stand.

Stimulated interest in electrical engineering as a career choice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description The university of Manchester organised a research seminar on high frequency techniques 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The High Frequency Switching Devices, Techniques and Converters seminar was help on Thursday 29th September 2016 and was mainly attended by researchers from the Centre of power Electronics. There were many requests for further information and copies of the presentations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016