Invited Industry Session Details I1.3

I1.3 Versatile Power Electronics Converter:

  • Presenter: Uwe Uhmeyer, Vice President of Engineering, Ideal Power

  • Abstract: In this presentation Ideal Power will describe their unique power conversion technology known as “Power Packet Switched Architecture” (PPSA) which is a form of resonant AC link converter.  Unlike most other power converter topologies, PPSA does not use an intermediate capacitor bank as an energy store but instead uses a high frequency inductive link element to store energy in its magnetic field.  This provides several benefits such as inherent bi-directionality, wide operating voltage range and small size without needing electrolytic capacitors.  Galvanic isolation is easily achieved by substituting the high frequency link inductor with a link transformer.  Galvanic isolation is very beneficial to battery applications where the battery does not want to be AC line voltage referenced but rather be floating or ground referenced.  The converter can be configured for two ports or with minimal additional hardware as a three port at which point the application possibilities greatly expand.

    Although PPSA is intrinsically a current source inverter topology with inherent bi-directional capabilities, sophisticated controls architecture allows the unit to operate in voltage mode on either the AC or DC ports creating powerful microgrid forming capability.  AC microgrids offer true off grid independence or can provide critical load support during grid outages.  Alternatively, the converter is capable of forming DC microgrids that are becoming more common in powering data centers or used to power lighting in commercial and industrial environments.

    Currently the AC switches within the converter use conventional silicon IGBT modules to form bi-directional AC switches and are a significant contributor to lost efficiency.  Ideal Power is developing a new semiconductor device called the B-TRAN which can potentially reduce the semiconductor losses by a factor of 10 considerably increasing power converter efficiency for PPSA and conventional inverter topologies.

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