EPSRC Challenge Network in Automotive Power Electronics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering

Abstract

The EPSRC Challenge Network in Automotive Power Electronics will bring together the academic and industrial communities to identify and address the long-term challenges in the design, manufacture, deployment and operational management of automotive electrical-power conversion and conditioning systems. Community coordination will be facilitated through a series of workshops, where key technical challenges will be debated, providing input into the Challenge Network Strategy and relevant roadmaps. The Network will also compile and maintain a register of community capability, capital equipment and facilities. Sandpit events will aid the development of consortia to address specific research challenges, for example in response to calls from EPSRC or from the European Commission. Attendees at the sandpit events will be invited to participate in competitions for funding of feasibility projects, in particular to address new lines of research and to establish new consortia with complementary expertise. Knowledge transfer between the academic and industrial communities will be stimulated through two-way people exchange, supported by joint industry-Network funding. Outreach activities will include a website, representation at key national and international events and an annual community conference, held in conjunction with the Advanced Propulsion Centre Power Electronics Spoke.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries will include the academic and industrial members of the Network, their host organisations, the automotive industry, the broader scientific and industrial power electronic communities, and society in general. Timely application of power electronics technology will enable and accelerate the development and adoption of energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies. In the target automotive sector, gaseous emissions and fossil fuel usage will be reduced, lower noise emissions will result and reliability will be enhanced, yielding direct environmental and economic benefits. In addition, there will be significant spill-over benefits in other areas. For example, in aerospace and rail transport, integrated power electronics will permit weight reduction and yield improved safety and reliability. In the energy sector, major opportunities are apparent in power quality control, in the renewable energy system market, in the emerging "smart grid", and in the consumer appliances sector.
UK-based technology and manufacturing capability is currently very strong in the power electronics sector. It is arguably one of the few areas in the electronics industry where the UK is internationally competitive across the whole supply chain (power device die, packaging, power modules, converters and drive systems). The expected migration from combustion engines to electrically-powered drive trains in the automotive sector will drive significant growth across the entire power electronics supply chain as it seeks to meet the new demand. Research stimulated by the Challenge Network will support innovation in this key technology, ensuring that the UK is well-positioned to grow its share of the market in the face of strong global competition.
In the short-term (1-5 years), the Network will generate stronger collaborative links within an expanding automotive power electronics community, leading to a clear research strategy and a portfolio of funded research. In the medium term (3-6 years), the knowledge gained from research activities initiated by the Network will underpin and supplement industry-led activities supported through related research programmes at TRL 4-6. In the longer term (6-15 years) the introduction of dramatically enhanced power electronic technologies will be of direct benefit to across the UK automotive supply chain, leading directly to wealth creation with job protection and growth. Manufacturers of power electronic modules and systems stand to gain benefit through expanded material/processing knowledge, an extended capability in high reliability packaging and integration and greater understanding of automotive system requirements. Improved design methodologies, life tests and standards will facilitate the design/product qualification process resulting in shorter time to market. Automotive system providers will benefit from early access to enhanced integration technologies and design methodology giving them a competitive advantage.
The publicity generated by the Network will raise public awareness of the role of power electronics and of engineering in general in society and contribute to future growth in students pursuing careers in science and engineering. Ultimately, the broader benefits to society will include improvements to the quality of life derived directly from the improved efficiency, flexibility and reliability of power electronics and indirectly from a reduced reliance on fossil fuels.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description During its first 30 months, the EPSRC Challenge Network in Automotive Power Electronics has engaged directly with over 150 members of the academic and industrial power electronics communities through its programme of workshops, calls for proposals and sandpit events. We have committed a total of £600k in external funding including six feasibility projects, one of which has been developed into a full EPSRC proposal and four impact acceleration projects. We have hosted and co-hosted a series of workshops culminating in the Automotive Council Power Electronics Roadmap and the identification of a range of short, medium and long-term research priorities. Looking ahead, 2019 will see us announce the outcome of a final round of knowledge transfer funding. A joint academia-industry Symposium, consisting of a series of workshops highlighting the technical challenges faced by the industrial sector was held in November 2018 and was attended by 70 delegates from academia and industry. We expect this to stimulate further research proposals from the academic community.
Exploitation Route Follow-on research proposals and funded research projects
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy,Transport

URL http://www.powerelectronics.ac.uk
 
Description Automotive Council Power Electronics Roadmap 2017
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://www.apcuk.co.uk/technology-roadmaps/
 
Description APC Spoke/Challenge Network Low TRL Workshop 
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 workshop resulted in the identification of a series of short/medium and long term technical challenges which have now been further refined in the Automotive Council Power Electronics Roadmap.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description APC Supply Chain Event 
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 aim of this event was to build consensus regarding the key technical challenges and potential approaches to their solution. It identified six priority areas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Automotive Council Technology Group visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The meeting included the regular Steering Group meeting of the ATG and was followed by input from Mark Johnson on the activities of the EPSRC Challenge Network in Automotive Power Electronics along with discussions on Low Carbon and Connected & Autonomous Vehicles,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Roadmapping Workshop 
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 This event was held as part of a series of events to build consensus amongst the UK power electronics community. The activities included 4 workshop sessions:

1. Workshop the cascade of product sector drivers and challenges into power electronics drivers, challenges and targets

2. Workshop key power electronics technology trajectories

3. Workshop the resilience of the roadmap to alternative scenarios

4. Workshop the key areas of product research, plus manufacturing process and capability research, required to enable the roadmap vision
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Roadmapping workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A roadmapping workshop aimed at updating the automotive power electronics roadmap. The workshop looked at product sector drivers and challenges into automotive power electronics drivers, challenges & targets and considered key automotive power electronics technology trajectories required to address the drivers and meet the targets. The resilience of the roadmap to alternative scenarios was discussed and the key areas of product, plus manufacturing process and capability, research required to enable the roadmap vision were identified.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Sandpit Event November 2016 
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 Sandpit event held over 2 days to develop new areas of research or to respond to priority research challenges identified in the Challenge Network Strategy. New research consortia, formed during the events, present their ideas to the Challenge Network Steering Group during the two-day event. Teams are given feedback and where appropriate, invited to submit full applications for funding. This event stimulated the development of 6 outline proposals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Sandpit Event November 2017 
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 Sandpit event held over 2 days to develop new areas of research or to respond to priority research challenges identified in the Challenge Network Strategy. New research consortia, formed during the events, present their ideas to the Challenge Network Steering Group during the two-day event. Teams are given feedback and where appropriate, invited to submit full applications for funding. This event stimulated the development of 6 outline proposals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Wide-Band Gap Event 2017 
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 80 delegates attended this event. Its aim was to shape the future direction of the UK PE industry. There was opportunity to engage in this process and set a course for wide bandgap PE in the UK. It also highlighted how this fed into the catapult, and feeds into FPC and grand challenges
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017