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Career: A Dual-Core Control Framework for the Next-Generation SiC Motor Drives, $500,000

4/1/2018 – 3/31/2023

High-power motor drives lie at the heart of mobile electrified systems. Limitations imposed by silicon (Si) power semiconductor devices make it challenging to achieve the desired power density, efficiency, and reliability. Fortunately, emerging silicon carbide (SiC) power devices enable a pathway to develop the next-generation motor drives. Innovations are also desired to address challenges related to the electromagnetic interference (EMI) issues, and the thermal management for higher heat fluxes. On the practical side, the research and development of high-power propulsion drives is hampered by the lack of testing facilities at a full power scale. This CAREER project will develop and demonstrate a novel dual-core control concept comprising an electro-magnetic-thermal co-optimization framework for the next generation SiC motor drives. The proposed research plan will lead to an innovative solution overcoming the limitations of present control practices, and thus having the potential to transform the existing ways to model, monitor, and control the SiC motor drives.

A Reliable, Cost-Effective Transformerless Medium-Voltage Inverter for Grid Integration of Combined Solar and Energy Storage, $2,765,138 (plus $713,853 cost share)

8/1/2018 – 7/31/2021, DOE SETO.

This project aims to enhance PV plant reliability with significantly reduced lifetime costs for a high-density 300 kilowatt central inverter. It converts 1.5 kilovolt direct current output of the photovoltaic systems to 4.16 kilovolt alternating current without the use of bulky 60 hertz transformers. The proposed technology lowers the lifetime costs of Silicon Carbide inverters through the simultaneous electro-thermal design of the subsystem and the components of the inverter. This project establishes a basis for new innovations by addressing the challenge of multi-objective optimization while accounting for inverter cost and reliability constraints.

Reliable, High Power Density Inverters for Heavy Equipment Applications, $2,163,630 (plus $713,853 cost share)

03/15/2018 – 09/14/2020, DOE ARPA-E CIRCUITS.

The University of Arkansas and its project team will develop a 2 by 250 kW power inverter system for use in the electrification of heavy equipment and other higher volume transportation applications (e.g., trucks, buses, cars). The team will leverage SiC power electronics devices to achieve high levels of efficiency while greatly increasing the volumetric and gravimetric power density of its system over existing ones. If successful, the team will achieve an improvement of four times the power density and reduce converter cost by 50% compared to today’s technology.