[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Obama Administration launches $200M competition for three new manufacturing innovation institutes; WBG power electronics, lightweight metals and digital manufacturing
May 09, 2013
The Obama Administration is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The effort is part of President Obama’s proposed $1-billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country. (Earlier post.)
The Department of Energy will lead one of the new institutes on “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing” for wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) (DE-FOA-0000683). The Department of Defense will lead the other two, focused on “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing” and “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation”.
Chalmers team developing new high-power integrated motor and battery charger; “rotating transformer”
April 30, 2013
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed a new type of high-power integrated motor drive and battery charger for electric vehicles. Compared to today’s electric vehicle chargers, the new system could shorten the charging time from eight to two hours, and to reduce the cost by around $2,000, according to the developers.
Dr. Saeid Haghbin at Chalmers proposed the system which uses the components in the traction circuit—such as the electric motor and the inverter—in the charger circuit to reduce the size, weight and price of the on-board charger. In essence, the proposed system uses the motor as a grid-connected generator with extra terminals.
Volvo upgrades C30 Electric with more powerful motor and 22 kW fast charger
April 23, 2013
|The new 22 kW fast charger supports a full pack charge in 1.5 hours. Click to enlarge.|
Beginning this summer, European leasing customers will drive and evaluate an upgraded demo fleet of 100 Volvo C30 battery electric cars that feature a new, more powerful motor from Siemens and a new 22 kW on-board flexible fast-charger from BRUSA.
The new Siemens motor for the generation II C30 has a peak power output of 89 kW (120 hp) and a torque of 250 N·m (184 N·m), enabling acceleration from 0-70 km/h (0-43 mph) in 5.9 seconds and 0-100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 10.7 seconds. The motor in the first generation C30 EV delivered 83 kW (111 hp) and 220 N·m (162 lb-ft).
California Energy Commission awards more than $5.5M for green transportation projects and $1.8M for 20 energy research projects
March 21, 2013
The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $5,580,773 for clean-energy transportation projects including biodiesel production, power control electronics for medium-and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, and buydowns for propane vehicles. The awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
In addition, CEC awarded $1,815,274 to fund 20 energy research projects in the areas of transportation, electricity, and natural gas. Funds for these projects—which span areas as diverse as a new crossover valve for the split-cycle Tour Engine (earlier post) to a new solar thermal storage device capable of integration with utility scale solar thermal power plants—come from Commission’s Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) program.
DOE to award more than $50M for new plug-in vehicle technology research projects
March 09, 2013
The US DOE has released the final version of a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000793) that will award more than $50 million in funding for new projects intended to accelerate the development of advanced plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies to increase vehicle fuel economy and improve performance. DOE had earlier requested public comment on a draft of the solicitation. (Earlier post.) The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will select new research projects—an anticipated minimum of 30 and maximum of 50—that focus on lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of PEV components, as well as the development of models and tools to predict these vehicles' performance and help improve fuel economy. The Department will fund projects across five major areas of research and development that cover 12 areas of interest (AOIs), including:
Siemens to collaborate more closely with Semikron on automotive power electronics; takes over Semikron subsidiary
February 22, 2013
|VePoint’s VPID integrated inverter and DC/DC converter. Click to enlarge.|
The Siemens Drive Technologies Division has signed a cooperation agreement with Semikron International in order to intensify future collaboration between the two in power electronics for electric vehicles. Under the agreement, Siemens has taken over the fully owned Semikron subsidiary VePOINT; The two companies have agreed to keep the purchase price confidential.
VePOINT develops power electronic components and systems, based on Semikron SKiN technology, specifically for the hybrid and electric vehicle market. SKiN technology is a flexible foil used in place of wire bonds and, in combination with sinter technology, allows double inverter power density, leading to a 35% reduction in inverter volume, Semikron says. The driver interface uses springs contacting the surface of the flexible foil.
DOE seeking comment on draft $50M solicitation for new projects over 11 areas of interest to improve vehicle performance and decrease fuel consumption
February 02, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technology Program is seeking public comment on the draft of an upcoming solicitation (DE-FOA-0000793) totaling more than $50 million for new research projects that will develop advanced technologies to improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. As part of the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between DOE and the Department of the Army, the Army plans to contribute $3.5 million in co-funding for several areas where there are joint development opportunities. The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will release the final version after a period of public comment and revision. The FOA contains a total of 11 areas of interest (AOIs) in the general areas of advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; and fuels and lubricants. Specific AOIs are:
Ames Lab team to head new $120M Critical Materials Institute; addressing shortages in rare earth metals and other materials
January 09, 2013
The US Department of Energy selected a team led by its Ames Laboratory for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish an Energy Innovation Hub that will develop solutions to the domestic shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for US energy. The new research center, which will be named the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), will bring together leading researchers from academia, four Department of Energy national laboratories, and the private sector. (Earlier post.)
Many materials deemed critical by the DOE are used in modern clean energy technologies—such as wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting. The DOE’s 2011 Critical Materials Strategy reported that supply challenges for five rare earth metals (dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium, and yttrium) may affect clean energy technology deployment in the coming years. (Earlier post.)
IDTechEx forecasts $18B market for electric vehicle inverters in 2023
December 08, 2012
The market for electric vehicle inverters, including converters, for both hybrid and pure electric vehicles—land, water and air—will grow to $18 billion in 2023 according to a new report from IDTechEx, “Inverters for Electric Vehicles 2013-2023”.
The demand for inverters and electric power conversions is already well established in the automation and industrial control industries which are also growing at considerable pace. The addition of a significant complimentary emerging market will create new sectors for existing inverter and power electronic component suppliers as well as create opportunities for new players, particularly those with specialist electric vehicle knowledge and those able to develop added value through highly integrated electric powertrain systems, the report suggests.
GM looking to combination of internal R&D and external investments for new technology; focus on five key areas; the importance of generational change
November 20, 2012
General Motors is leveraging two separate organizations—its internal R&D group and the recently formed GM Ventures—to accelerate innovation and to introduce new technology to keep the company on the forefront of the technology revolution now taking place in the automotive industry, according to John Lauckner, GM’s Chief Technology Officer; Vice President, Global Research & Development; and President, GM Ventures.
During a talk at the recent Electrification Experience symposium (earlier post), Lauckner briefly outlined GM’s efforts to leverage three sources of technology: technology developed in house, through R&D or advanced engineering; technology from outside the company from startups; and technology from suppliers and engineering firms. GM is focusing on five key areas, Lauckner said:
DOE investing $120M over 5 years in Energy Innovation Hub for Critical Materials Research
June 01, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest $120 million over five years to launch a new Energy Innovation Hub, establishing a multidisciplinary and sustained effort to identify problems and develop solutions across the lifecycle of critical materials such as rare earth elements (REE) (DE-FOA-0000687)
The Critical Materials Hub builds on the Department’s Critical Materials Strategy report (earlier post), which addresses the use of rare earths and other critical materials in clean energy components, products, and processes. The goal of the Critical Materials Hub will be to reduce US dependence on these critical materials and ensure that the deployment of domestic energy technologies is not hindered by future materials supply shortages.
Enova developing next-generation electric drive system “ACUMEN” by reaching out for emerging technologies from other sources
May 24, 2012
Enova, a developer of proprietary hybrid electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components for the commercial vehicle market, has begun development of its next-generation drive system, code-named ACUMEN. With the completion of its OMNI drive system (earlier post), Enova is now looking to further optimize its ability to interface with all worldwide EV and HEV systems, including those powered by natural gas.
Enova previously announced its new OMNI drive system which combines the 170 kW OMNI Inverter with a new 10 kW OMNI Charger with an entire range of AC induction and permanent magnet motors. While OMNI was developed in-house, with the ACUMEN system, Enova is looking to evaluate and utilize technologies that are emerging worldwide.
IR introduces ultra-fast switching, rugged 600V high frequency IGBTs for EV and HEV applications
May 10, 2012
International Rectifier introduced a new 600V automotive grade IGBT platform—COOLiRIGBT—for use in a wide range of fast switching applications for electric (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) including on-board DC-DC converters, motor drives, and battery chargers.
The new Gen. 1 COOLiRIGBT devices are capable of operating at the same fast switching speeds as MOSFETs while offering higher efficiency at high current levels. The first generation COOLiRIGBT devices cover a broad current range and offer a minimum short circuit rating of 5μs, low Vce(on) and positive Vce(on) temperature coefficient. Additional features common to the family include square reverse bias safe operating area (SRBSOA) and maximum junction temperature of 175 °C. COOLiRIGBT also provides designers with the flexibility of selecting a diode with optimized performance for the application.