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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R004137/1
Title: Converter Architectures
Principal Investigator: Yuan, Professor X
Other Investigators:
Forsyth, Professor A Mellor, Professor PH Todd, Dr R
Mitcheson, Professor PD Wen, Dr B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Converter Technology GaN Systems Inc (Global) IXYS UK Westcode Ltd
Rolls-Royce Plc (UK)
Department: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2017 Ends: 31 October 2021 Value (£): 1,259,400
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electric Motor & Drive Systems Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Apr 2017 Power Electronics 2016-17 Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Power Electronics plays a very important role in the electrical power conversion and is widely used in transportation, renewable energy and utility applications. By 2020, 80% of electrical power will go through power electronics converters somewhere between generation, transmission, distribution and consumption. So high-efficiency, high-power-density and high-reliability are very important for power electronics converters. The conventional power electronics devices are based on silicon materials and have reached the limit of their potential. The emergence of wide-bandgap (WBG) material such as silicon-carbide (SiC) and Gallium-Nitride (GaN) based devices has brought in clear opportunities enabling compact, more efficient power converters, operating at higher voltages, frequencies and powers to meet the increasing demand by a range of existing and emerging applications. For example, more/full electric aircrafts with hybrid propulsion requires 10s of MW efficient power conversion with high frequency drives, higher voltage levels as well as higher power density. Wireless power charging is pushing the frequency from 100s of kHz to MHz at kW power level to minimise passive elements such as inductors and capacitors. Transformerless, compact, high-efficiency medium-voltage (1kV~10kV) power conversion enabled by high voltage SiC devices is critical for the realisation of power electronics based distribution networks (including energy storage interfacing) for smart grid as well as future transportation systems.

Whilst WBG devices offer the possibility to operate at higher voltages with lower on-state losses, and faster switching speeds than Si devices, maximising the performance benefits at a converter level creates a range of interrelated challenges. For example, high voltage and current changing rates of WBG devices will generate significant electro-magnetic-interference (EMI) and affect the running of other equipment. Identifying the most effective circuit topologies, passive component technologies and control methods, and managing the very high switching rates to extend the frequency/voltage/power envelope present great challenges to power electronic engineers, but are vital if the true potential of WBG circuits is to be achieved. They therefore form the main motivation for this project.

This Converter Architecture (CA) project brings together the UK's best academic and industrial expertise to investigate optimal converter architectures, advanced passive components design methods, fast speed control techniques and holistic optimisation to realise the full potential of WBG devices in achieving higher efficiency, high power density with extended voltage, frequency and power handling capability.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk