Thursday, December 5, 2013
Dr. Jayant Baliga, a Distinguished University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University and founding director of the university's Power Semiconductor Research Center, has received the Medal of Honor from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Previous winners of the award include radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi and microchip co-inventor Robert Noyce.
IEEE is the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology, and the Medal of Honor is the institute's highest award.
Baliga is most famous for inventing, developing and commercializing the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), an energy-saving semiconductor switch that controls the flow of power from an electrical energy source to any application that needs energy.
The IGBT improves energy efficiency by more than 40 percent in products ranging from cars and refrigerators to light bulbs, and it is a critical component of modern compact cardiac defibrillators. The improved efficiency of IGBT-enabled applications has saved consumers money - more than $2.7 trillion in the United States and $15.8 trillion worldwide - while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 35 trillion pounds in the U.S. and 78 trillion pounds worldwide. In addition, IGBT-based compact portable defibrillators are estimated to have saved nearly 100,000 lives in the United States.
Baliga continues to work on innovative power technologies through NC State's Power Semiconductor Research Center and the university's FREEDM Systems Center, a National Science Foundation-sponsored Engineering Research Center that seeks to improve the nation's distribution and management of power. His recent work includes research into wireless communication technology and technologies that use silicon carbide to create energy-efficient high-power devices.
In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Baliga the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, which is the nation's highest honor for technological achievement.
IEEE has more than 425,000 members in more than 160 countries and includes professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic and computing fields and related areas of science and technology.
The IEEE Medal of Honor was established in 1917. According to IEEE, the Medal of Honor "is presented when a candidate is identified as having made a particular contribution that forms a clearly exceptional addition to the science and technology of concern to IEEE."
Credit: NCSU News Service Press Release "Inventor, Electronics Innovator Baliga Wins IEEE's Highest Award" by Matt Shipman
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Dr. Doug Hopkins, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State University, has received the IMAPS Outstanding Educator Award. This award is presented by the Executive Council of the International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society (IMAPS).
IMAPS is the largest society dedicated to the advancement and growth of microelectronics and electronics packaging. The society produces numerous publications, workshops, international conferences, professional development courses, and exhibitions bringing together the entire microelectronics supply chain. Their events and products focus on those technologies critical to the present and future of microelectronics: 3D Integration, MEMS, Flip Chip, Wafer Level Packaging,Thermal Management, Printed Electronics, Advanced Materials, Photonics, Modeling/Design and many others.
Dr. Hopkins has been a member of the IMAPS society for over 20 years. He was Student Chapter Advisor at the University at Buffalo for over 10 years and co-founded the IMAPS Power Packaging Committee. He plans to start a new student chapter here at NC State University.
The IMAPS Outstanding Educator Award recognizes an individual who, in the opinion of the IMAPS Outstanding Educator Selection Committee, has provided significant contributions to education for the electronics packaging industry and/or to the advancement of IMAPS Student Chapters.
The award was presented at the Awards Ceremony at the "46th International Symposium on Microelectronics," this year in Orlando, FL.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed new technology and techniques for transmitting power wirelessly from a stationary source to a mobile receiver - moving engineers closer to their goal of creating highway "stations" that can recharge electric vehicles wirelessly as the vehicles drive by.
"We've made changes to both the receiver and the transmitter in order to make wireless energy transfer safer and more efficient," says Dr. Srdjan Lukic, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the research.
The researchers developed a series of segmented transmitter coils, each of which broadcasts a low-level electromagnetic field. The researchers also created a receiver coil that is the same size as each of the transmitter coils, and which can be placed in a car or other mobile platform. The size of the coils is important, because coils of the same size transfer energy more efficiently.
The researchers modified the receiver so that when it comes into range and couples with a transmitter coil, that specific transmitter coil automatically increases its current - boosting its magnetic field strength and the related transfer of energy by 400 percent. The transmitter coil's current returns to normal levels when the receiver passes out of the range of the transmitter.
These modifications improve on previous mobile, wireless power transfer techniques.
One previous approach was to use large transmitter coils. But this approach created a powerful and imprecise field that could couple to the frame of a car or other metal objects passing through the field. Because of the magnetic field's strength, which is required to transfer sufficient power to the receiver, these electromagnetic field "leaks" raised safety concerns and reduced system efficiency.
Another previous approach used smaller transmitter coils, which addressed safety and efficiency concerns. But this approach would require a very large number of transmitters to effectively "cover" a section of the roadway, adding substantial cost and complexity to the system, and requiring very precise vehicle position detection technology.
"We tried to take the best from both of those approaches," Lukic says.
Lukic and his team have developed a small, functional prototype of their system, and are now working to both scale it up and increase the power of the system.
Currently, at peak efficiency, the new system can transmit energy at a rate of 0.5 kilowatts (kW). "Our goal is to move from 0.5 kW into the 50 kW range," Lukic says. "That would make it more practical."
The paper, "Reflexive Field Containment in Dynamic Inductive Power Transfer Systems" is published online in IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. Lead author of the paper is NC State Ph.D. student Kibok Lee. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Zeljko Pantic, a former Ph.D. student at NC State. The research was partially supported by National Science Foundation grant number EEC-0812121.
Credit: NCSU News Services press release "New Approach Advances Wireless Power Transfer for Vehicles" by Matt Shipman
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Earl Energy is a veteran-owned and operated company developing and deploying advanced energy technology to reduce the massive fuel demands on the battlefield. Founded in Virginia, Earl Energy expanded its offices to Raleigh in the fall of 2012 and promptly joined the FREEDM Systems Center as an industry member. They saw a natural fit between their products, which hybridize military and commercial generators, thereby maximizing system performance, reliability, and efficiency, and the research being done at the FREEDM Systems Center. "The FREEDM Center was a perfect partner for Earl Energy as we sought to build a first-class engineering team in the Research Triangle Area. Their local knowledge and resources were vital to our success and we look forward to continuing to partner with them in the future," said Pasi Taimela, Director of Engineering for Earl Energy.
While participating in the FREEDM Industry Member Showcase during the annual conference, Earl Energy met Vinay Baliga, currently a PhD student working on the characterization, device performance, and converter operation of Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices. Vinay was hired for a summer internship to work on developing a controls platform for large scale power conversion technology to be used in rugged reliable hybrid power solutions for Earl Energy's rapidly expanding commercial business. Working alongside engineers at Earl Energy, Vinay spent the summer designing, developing, and optimizing power converters for Earl Energy's FlexGenŽ Hybrid Power Systems. The entire company met weekly for progress reports and updates on projects. It was during these weekly meetings that Vinay gained more exposure to product lifecycle management, which isn't covered in depth in an academic setting. "At Earl Energy I found a team that cares so deeply about the company they work for and have a passion and belief in the products they create. This inspired me to not only take on my own project, but work closely with other engineers to broaden my exposure to other skill sets," said Baliga.
Earl Energy's line of FlexGenŽ Power Systems are transforming the way power is delivered on the battlefield and in many commercial markets. The FlexGenŽ hybrid generator, currently on the battlefields of Afghanistan, is saving fuel, saving money, and saving lives by drastically reducing fuel consumption, maintenance, and taking more of our soldiers out of harm's way.
"All of my expectations were exceeded while working at Earl Energy. I found myself in a friendly environment in which I could work on my own project, while seeking the help of other individuals in the company whenever I needed it. I had my own project, which I worked on during the entirety of the internship. I really enjoyed designing, optimizing, and testing the product that I developed along with my colleagues at Earl Energy. Having it all come together into a working prototype at the end of the internship was a greatly rewarding experience," said Baliga.
Vinay's advisor, Dr. Subhashish Bhattacharya is also working with Earl Energy on a recently awarded contract from the Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) to develop the next generation in power conversion technology.
"Partnering with the FREEDM Systems Center is a win for everyone. Current and graduating students get a chance to enhance their practical skills by working on transformative technology at our Durham engineering facility, while we get the benefit of having one of the top engineering universities in the world right in our back yard," said Taimela.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
The Missouri University of Science and Technology will receive $4.3 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative to develop power engineering curriculum and launch the Mid-America Regional Microgrid Education and Training Consortium (MARMET). The award, announced October 23 as part of the SunShot Initiative's Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) program, is part of $60 million in DOE funding that will help lower the cost of solar electricity, advance seamless grid integration, and support a growing U.S. solar workforce. Missouri S&T will lead the MARMET Consortium which includes the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The consortium's cost-share partners are Ameren, the City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., and the Perfect Power Institute in Chicago.
"I'm very excited to be a part of the SunShot Initiative," says Dr. Mariesa Crow, the Fred W. Finley Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Missouri S&T. "The primary goal of this consortium is to integrate cutting-edge research and advanced instructional methods to create a flexible, evolving approach to microgrid and distributed energy resources training for all levels of student." The consortium will do this by developing modular course material that reflects the newest trends in microgrid engineering and make them available in both traditional and non-traditional settings. "It is our goal to develop course material that can be integrated into either existing courses or organized into new courses," Crow says. The target audience for these courses includes technicians, contractors, consultants, inspectors, policy-makers, supervisors and engineers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students.
"We are honored to be a part of the Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative," says Dr. K. Krishnamurthy, Vice Provost for Research at Missouri S&T. "Missouri S&T already has a firm foundation in innovative energy research and this award will allow us to expand upon that." The DOE SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, DOE supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at http://www.energy.gov/sunshot.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
After many months of planning and anticipation, the Center transported the Alternative Power Systems (APS) mobile power systems demonstration trailer to the DOE Solar Decathlon in beautiful Irvine, California. The 16 ft. trailer displayed the APS photovoltaic array coupled with a battery storage system, which were linked to the FREEDM DC microgrid distribution system, arc-free DC plug demonstration, and efficient LED lighting. Posters inside the trailer explaining related FREEDM technologies, such as the Plug and Play PV system and the Solid State Transformer, were also on display. From October 10th through the 13th, NCSU ECE seniors Anirudh Mulukutla and Tiadra Simpson explained the intricacies and potential benefit of these energy technologies to the many thousands of visitors to the Solar Decathlon Technology Expo. The DC power demonstration and technical discussions were very popular with both working engineers, as well as many lay persons interested in home energy efficiency technology, who visited the trailer.
The Solar Decathlon is an international collegiate design competition in which universities design, build, and operate solar powered, energy efficient homes that are cost effective; utilize sustainable building practices, and display aesthetic design. The 19 competitors this year come from as far away as the Czech Republic and Austria; and include FREEDM partners Arizona State University and Missouri University of Science and Technology. The ingenuity, creativity, and architectural sensibility of the teams' creations was nothing short of phenomenal! (www.solardecathlon.gov)
Both Tia and Ani spoke about their experiences in a very positive way. They networked with students from several universities and toured the many Solar Decathlon Competition homes on display. In the coming months, both will be working hard to lay the groundwork to start a solar home proposal at NCSU for the Solar Decathlon 2015. They believe that NCSU's stellar engineering school and world-class School of Design and Architecture, paired with the industry contacts they were able to develop on this year's trip, will combine to form a very competitive entry.
The Center is indebted to M.C. Dean for their sponsorship of our entry in the Technology Expo, to APS for their mobile power system trailer and generous logistic support, and to CREE for their LED lighting systems.