Senior ScientistContact Madhav
Power electronics is a key technology for sustainable development and a fossil-free future. We are moving towards an increasingly connected and digitalized society that requires more energy and powerful electronic devices. The project Future Power Electronics examines how the Swedish industry will meet future challenges within power electronics.
Power electronics convert electrical energy, and it is found in most modern electronic products, from computers to electric cars. For example, it makes your cellphone faster, more compact, and it makes the battery life lasts longer. It also enables your electric car to distribute the right current and voltage to the electric motors.
To achieve a green transition and at the same time meet the increased need for electrical energy, more efficient energy conversion is required. The project Future Power Electronics is a new initiative to build competence and lab resources to meet the industry’s future challenges within power electronics. The goal is to contribute with knowledge and a test operation for Swedish products and companies to achieve increased competitiveness in the global market.
Future Power Electronics will be developed within a new test and demo lab that is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023. The lab is a complement to the large electromobility lab SEEL. Within the new lab, RISE will perform testing and verification, from chip to subsystem and system level. The project will primarily focus on verifying new materials, construction methods, and AI-based methods for forecasting error outcomes as well as new methods for control and optimization of power electronics.
An important part of the transition to a climate-neutral society is to be able to reduce losses in the conversion of electrical energy. More energy is wasted with today's, often silicon-based (Si), power electronics compared to new materials. Within the demo facility, RISE will further develop power electronics based on more efficient and advanced wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor materials, such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). This will lead to more energy- and cost-efficient components, which in turn will lead to for example shorter charging time and a longer range for electric vehicles.
In order for power electronics of the future to be more energy-efficient, the power density needs to increase, meaning more current per volume in the systems. To get there, new materials and methods for design are required. Within the project, we will use new ways of building power electronics. For example, 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, which has great potential to optimize the volume and function of power electronics systems. The challenge in an additive manufacturing process is to combine materials that can conduct a lot of current with materials that can insulate against high voltage.
The power electronics of the future will be more complex and integrated than they are today. This will make it more difficult to ensure adequate reliability, meaning that the systems will work as planned for as long as planned. By developing new, AI-based methods, combined with an understanding of the most important error mechanisms, it will be possible to predict error outcomes in the systems before they occur.
Future Power Electronics
The project is lead by RISE