Inverter for High Speed PMSM

ARPA-E Project Image


Program:
CIRCUITS
Award:
$1,172,888
Location:
New Berlin,
Wisconsin
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
12/19/2017 - 04/18/2022

Critical Need:

Electricity generation currently accounts for ~40% of primary energy consumption in the U.S. and continues to be the fastest growing form of end-use energy. Power electronics condition, control, and convert electrical power in order to provide optimal conditions for transmission, distribution, and load-side consumption. Most of today’s power electronics have limitations to their performance, temperature resilience, and size due to the circuit topology and semiconductor power devices used. Emerging semiconductor devices such as those based on wide-bandgap materials — along with transformative advances in circuit design and system architecture — present opportunities to dramatically improve power converter performance while reducing size and weight. Development of advanced power electronics with unprecedented functionality, efficiency, reliability, and form factor will help provide the U.S. a critical technological advantage in an increasingly electrified world economy.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Imagen Energy will develop a silicon carbide (SiC)-based compact motor drive system to efficiently control high-power (greater than 500 kW) permanent magnet electric motors operating at extremely high speed (greater than 20,000 rpm). Imagen’s design will address a major roadblock in operating electric motors at high speed, namely overcoming large back electromotive forces (BEMF). Their solution hopes to maximize the capabilities of the SiC technology and associated digital control platform, thereby bringing the overall drive system performance parameters to levels unachievable by current Si-based power conversion systems. If successful, the project team will demonstrate a motor drive capable of handling large BEMF and increase motor system efficiency over a broad range of operating speeds, a useful combination for high-speed applications in the oil and gas industry, high-speed/high-power compressors, grid-connected energy storage, and renewable energy generation.

Potential Impact:

If successful, CIRCUITS projects will enable further development of a new class of power converters suitable for a broad range of applications including motor drives for heavy equipment and consumer appliances, electric vehicle battery charging, high-performance computer data centers, grid applications for stability and resilience, and emerging electric propulsion systems.

Security:

More robust power electronics that withstand higher operating temperatures, have increased durability, a smaller form factor, and higher efficiency will significantly improve the reliability and security of a resilient electrical grid.

Environment:

Low cost and highly efficient power electronics could lead to more affordable electric and hybrid-electric transportation, greater integration of renewable power sources, and higher efficiency electric motors for use in heavy industries and consumer applications.

Economy:

Electricity is the fastest growing form of end-use energy in the United States. High performance, low cost power electronics would enable significant efficiency gains across the economy, reducing energy costs for businesses and families.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Isik Kizilyalli
Project Contact:
Mr. Ezana Mekonnen
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
ezana@imagenenergy.com

Partners

Velicon LLC

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Release Date:
08/23/2017