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AC Kinetics to showcase next-generation motor control software at ARPA-E Summit; 10-40% reduction in energy consumption and improved performance

Internal AC Kinetics testing used an AC induction motor coupled to a large inertia, following a modified EPA city traffic cycle. The AC Kinetics drive used about half of the energy of competitor commercial drives, while also having the smallest tracking error. Source: AC Kinetics. Click to enlarge.

Motor control company AC Kinetics, Inc. will introduce its next-generation motor control technology at the upcoming ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., 25-27 February. AC Kinetics was selected as a Semi-Finalist in the Future Energy Pitching Event at the Summit.

The advanced AC Kinetics software (ACKS), supported by real-time adaptive algorithms, runs on standard drive hardware for motorized equipment in the consumer, industrial, and transportation markets. The drive software controls the motor to optimally generate torque on demand in a maximally efficient manner.

Using its nonlinear optimization algorithms, the drive software automatically configures itself to a particular motor and application, eliminating the suboptimal performance and energy usage associated with hand tuning. Motor energy consumption is minimized for the same work output at all operating points, while dynamic performance is increased, the company says.

By optimizing the nonlinear dynamics of the motor, ACKS achieves high energy savings while improving both transient performance and disturbance rejection. Compared to several well-recognized drive brands, the ACKS solution uses up to 50% less energy during transients and 10% less energy in the steady state, while tracking references more precisely and being superior in rejecting disturbances, the company says.

The AC Kinetics drive algorithms can be integrated seamlessly with AC drive products currently available from major manufacturers.

We have developed several algorithms for electric motor control that reduce energy consumption by 10% to 40%, while simultaneously improving motor performance. Our technology also enables motors to run cooler, and therefore last longer.

Electric motors consume 45% of all electric energy produced globally, and two-thirds of the energy consumed for industrial production. AC Kinetics technology can substantially reduce the world’s electric bill—the global spend is US$570 billion annually—while cutting the carbon pollution generated by power plants.

—Dr. Neil Singer, president of AC Kinetics, Inc.

The AC Kinetics team’s first motor control technology, invented by Dr. Singer and patented by MIT, reduces vibrations and acoustics on hundreds of millions of machines world-wide. This next generation motor control is compatible with existing AC induction motor drive hardware and is now available for licensing.

An independent motor drive efficiency study at MIT’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) compared a hardware implementation of the AC Kinetics controller against some of the world’s leading motor drives. The AC Kinetics motor control solution outperformed the other motor drives while using significantly less energy. The testing was completed and published by MIT in May 2012.

The AC Kinetics, Inc. team has worked together for more than 25 years, and its members jointly and independently commercialized new technologies for the last 35 years. In the 1990s, the team invented and commercialized algorithms that reduce residual vibrations, improve settle times, and minimize unwanted acoustics in motorized machines. Those algorithms now control hundreds of millions of machines worldwide ranging from computer disk drives to cranes handling radioactive materials operated by the Department of Energy and private utility companies.

The AC Kinetics team also developed a novel algorithm for control of parallel motor gantry machines. The technology was licensed exclusively to Dover Motion Division of Danaher Corporation to dominate the precision gantry machine market.


Kit P

“I was simply asking a question ”

Try using a ? mark and forming it as a question instead of a statement of fact.

“trying to be civil ”

In my experience civil people do not call people obnoxious jerk .

“I'll take the NG over coal ”

That is something clueless say. It is also code for I live in California and since we do not have any coal we want everone else to pay thgrough the nose.

“American source of fuel vs the huge chunk of oil we get from foreign sources. ”

Think about this since this falls under the category of how we best use resources. NG is a very valuable feedstock for the chemical industry and making fertilizer. Using it just for the BTU value to make power is not better than using coal or uranium.

“electricity can be cleaned up ”

Really, how is that? I am very proud of the insignificant environmental impact of making power in the US. 'Cleaned up' is more California code for putting wind farms in others backyard.

BEV are at best a margin better choice except someplace like France that uses very little fossil fuel to make power.


"Based on hardware results we predict that a particular unnamed current production EV that has roughly 95% efficient motors would get up to a 20%-30% improvement in EPA Urban cycle range using the AC Kinetics algorithms."

Thank you Mr. Singer and I hope EVs, motors, etc. utilize such significance improvements.

If the lighter 2013 Leaf, like the 2013 Japan model, is ~83 mile range, then 83 X ~125% = ~104 miles of more sell-able range, esp. at $18,800 with max credits.

@Kit P, accept: and - including .5GigaWatt per month Japan solar power growth - more in Germany.


I really don't want to spend my time arguing with you on here and shouldn't have said that. I just didn't like you calling me a clueless BEV advocate without even knowing why I was saying things.

My first post was more of a hopeful thought and I put in the reference showing that coal use was on a steady decline. This is mostly to the rise in the use of NG clearly, but it will take a while before any renewables can make any real difference.

Personally I prefer nukes as they are more realistic and can be done now...if we stop whining about how bad they are. More people die every year from coal related deaths than in the entire history of the nuclear industry. But because it's related to to military nukes (from a tech perspective) most people can't have a rational conversation about it and have put so much regulations in place they've driving the cost up an order of magnitude from where it could be. Of course, if we used thorium reactors, it's not even really related to military nukes anymore...but they won't discuss that.

I don't understand your assertion that we need the NG as a feedstock for the chemical industry. Everything I've read indicates we have an oversupply of NG right now and the supply is growing...ok due to fracking which is not so good. But I don't see how we can be dealing with a shortage of NG feedstock for the chemical industry.
Do you have links to sources I could read?

No, I'm not from California...just hopefully optimistic that we'll get our head out of our arse and do something besides burn fossil fuels one day. I've lived around the Southeast for the most part and was in TVA territory for a long time where hydro was big and we had a number of nukes.



Thanks for taking the time to explain what you're doing and how it can make a difference in the real world. Very helpful and encouraging, as a way to get an additional 20-30% range without spending more on batteries would be a huge leap.

Kit P

“the reference showing that coal use was on a steady decline. ”

Actually coal is growing leaps and bounds. DavdD may want to take a world view. DaveD may also want to consider there is a difference between posting a link and understanding a complex topic.

“but it will take a while before any renewables can make any real difference ”

Do you mean like never.

“More people die every year from coal related deaths ”

Yes nuclear is safe but so is coal. And the nuclear energy is doing fine, the anti-nukes are not preventing new plants from being built.

“oversupply of NG ”

More like an under supply of demand. Mild weather and a weak economy is limiting. Energy requires a long view.

“Do you have links to sources I could read? ”

No but I can give you an example. Twenty years ago NG was cheap in North America as a result of looking oil. We produced a lot of ammonia. Then we started making lots of power with NG while Clinton admin made is difficult to increase supply. Price of NG went up. The ammonia plant near Kenniwick Washington closed down. If you keep your ear to the ground you can watch the jobs leave.

TVA is also big in coal. My point is that coal is not that bad and most do not even notice it.


My concern is the purchase of foreign oil which is money going directly to our trade deficit and hurting our economy. So yes, I care about the US view. And our use of alternative fuel vehicles will eventually put a dent in the amount of oil purchased.

On the BEV side, the environmental side benefit of getting rid of fossil fuels, especially the worst of them (coal) is a bonus. It is a very dirty source of energy.

You're assertion that coal is safe is a bit hard to swallow.
"From 1968 through 2007, black lung caused or contributed to roughly 75,000 deaths in the United States, according to government data."

I'm trying to explain myself and my views so stop referring to me in the 3rd person and acting like I'm stupid. If you have data to show my why my views are wrong, then please supply sources because I'm willing to learn but stop talking to me like I'm stupid.


Most of the ACKinetics discussion is for AC induction motors, but except for the Tesla, most vehicles with electric motors use permanent magnet motors. I believe the permanent magnet motors are chosen because they are more efficient over a wide range of speeds and loads. Here is a reference to some Oak Ridge measurements of motor efficiency for the Camry motor:

Over a wide range of (steady state) speeds and loads, the motor is more than 90% efficient. Perhaps Neil Singer will comment on whether the ACKinetics drives would likely improve the efficiency of the Prius or Camry Hybrids.

Note that high efficiency is needed for power split hybrids like the Prius, where a second motor/generator is built into the planetary gear to create an electrically variable transmission. Sometimes part of the power from the engine is used to drive the generator which then supplies power to the motor. Both the generator and motor have to be efficient to minimize the losses. High efficiency is also necessary to get the most out of regenerative braking over a driving cycle. Toyota has worked hard to optimize the efficiency of their motors and drive electronics. It would be interesting to know whether the ACKinetics system can improve on what Toyota does.

kelly - good link

"Most of the ACKinetics discussion is for AC induction motors," - good catch

Neil Singer

@Cautious9 and Kelly

The algorithms were developed for AC induction motors. Unfortunately we offer nothing for permanent magnet Electric Vehicles. But we do make AC Induction motors more attractive for EV's. AC Induction motors are lighter, cheaper, and don't contain rare earth materials. The problem with AC motors is they are harder to control while maintaining performance and efficiency so that is why we set out to address that difficult control problem.


@ Neil:

Thank you for the additional info. Application results would be more than welcomed.

@ Cautious9:

Good question with regards to Tesla's and Toyota's choice of e-motors. Wonder what would be the net gain of using AC inductive motors with proper controls and ACKenetic's software package?


What's you take on SepEx (Separately Excited DC) motors?
Pros & cons?



What you have presented it is absolutely impressive!

I wonder if you could tell us to what extend existing control electronics can be used with your software?
For instance are the materially different requirements regarding e.g. timing resolution, switching performance or peak current requirements, etc ?
Or is it truly 100% software (firmware) upgrade?

Also to what extend, if any, are you reliant on predictive algorithm performance ? Is there element of learning and underlying predictability of load changes?

Finally at first glance it seems counter-intuitive that it is possible to simultaneously lower energy consumption AND lower tracking error - could you explain to us why this naive intuition is wrong?

Kit P


“On the BEV side ”
The power for BEV is made with fossil fuels. There is a reason I think you are clueless.

“It is a very dirty source of energy. ”

Then you will not have any problem coming up with a example from your personal experience.

“You're assertion that coal is safe is a bit hard to swallow. ”

That is most likely you are clueless about evaluating safety. If junk science about nuclear bothers you so much why would you link junk science from the Huffington Post/

“a bygone era of coal mining. At 83”

Ah yes, the good old days before cars had seat belts and most adults smoked.

“acting like I'm stupid ”

Your words not mine but DaveD has not provided any evidence .

“I'm willing to learn ...”

You might consider the source of information you read. Garbage in, garbage out! I suspect DaveD is one of the environmentalists who loves science but enough to take hard science classes at his local university. There is a systematic approach to safety and protecting the environment. Look for it and be skeptical of everything you read. For example, LCA following the methodology prescribed by ISO 14000 can be used to making good environmental choices.


Do you have some kind of emotional problems? Or are you just one of those people who likes to say things hiding behind a keyboard on the internet that you can't say to someone's face.

Kit P


For the most part, I am around pretty sharp people and engage in lively discussions. If you want to mumble liberal BS and be told how smart you, maybe you should call your mommy and she can tell you how special you are. However, if you post mindless opinion that you can not back up you should be prepared to be called clueless. Maybe you like sounding like a California valley girl because any evidence that you actually want to learn is not apparent to me,


Wow, it only took you five posts to actually address me. No dude, you're just a jerkoff who talks big on the internet and you're not even good at it.

I told you, my main concern is the reduction in the amount of petroleum used and it is for economic reasons. Frankly, I don't care if idiots like you shove coal up your ass till it comes out of your ears. You're the one that started the whole string about fossil fuels being dirty and therefor BEVs being evil because they get their electricity from them. Which shows how stupid you are. You keep harping on how clean and safe coal is and how proud you are of the American grid and yet you keep trying to pick a fight with me about how dirty the electricity is that charges them. That's the worst logic I've seen even on the internet with the trolls we get.
Pick a side of the argument you're on moron and stick with it. Is coal clean or dirty? Is it safe or dangerous? Frankly, I don't give a damn because for the last time, my main concern is the reduction of petroleum use for economic reasons in the US. Is that clear enough for you? Let's try it again just to make sure: my main concern is reducing the amount of petroleum used in America for economic reasons.

As for you're lively discussions: you clearly hang around with a bunch of like minded "conservatives" and engage in a self-serving positive feedback loop. The crap you spew is moronic at best. You think anecdotal stories you make up are better than data gathered from sources. You challenge me to come up with an "example"? Seriously? How hard is it to google "coal disaster" and find something? What about the ash spill in Tennessee 4-5 years ago. I remember it but frankly it's a single incident that proves nothing and I'm not going to spend the time to even google it.
I stopped taking you seriously at that point and was trying to be polite. But screw it, you're a self appointed, self important moron.
When I was a new executive at IBM, one of my first assignments was to manage 22 PhD's from around the company and make them all agree on a single security strategy for our products.
It was like listening to a room full of children who all thought they knew everything yet they all disagreed. It was funny, and reminds me of listening to your tripe.

Kit P


“I told you, my main concern is the reduction in the amount of petroleum used and it is for economic reasons. ”

Well you did get around to that after a few clueless post. So let me see how clueless DaveD is with a few questions. Do you car pool? Have you made the choices to drive less? Do you drive an car that gets good mileage?

These are all simple an econmic choices that every American can afford. Advocating BEV that only the spoil rich (I do not want to defame all rich people), seems like a big fat waste ot tax payers dollars. So for the concern about imports: DaveD = clueless.

“idiots like you shove coal up ”

I work in the coal industry. When I started, a lot of power was produced with 'cheap' domestic oil but in part due to the 20% that comes nuclear we use very little oil to make power.

“You're the one that started the whole string about fossil fuels being dirty and therefor BEVs being evil because they get their electricity from them.”

DaveD may want to go back to my first post which was very civil and not directed at him. I am still skeptical that there is a market for his impovement. I also did not say that fossil fuel was dirty. It depends on how you use them. We no longer have a pollution problem in the US we our modern ICE and power plants do a very good job of cleanly using fossil fuels.

Heating your house with wood or coal is dirty but very cheap. It is a choice an indivual makes. My all electric house supplied by a coal plant is clean. It is not too expesnsive either.

“Seriously? How hard is it to google ”

It seems to be very hard for DaveD to come up with a personal 'anecdotal' example. I have been looking for that terrible example in present day America. I go out of my way to see power plants of all kinds. I find them interesting just as some find old churches interesting.

“What about the ash spill in Tennessee 4-5 years ago. ”

Well what about it? Did DavdD go there or does he get his information from the clueless on the internet?

I have been there. If you lived looking at Kingtston coal plant you would be living in a very beautiful area. I have also read the detailed reports on the problem.

"coal disaster"

The clueless should review the story about boy who cried wolf. Everything is a disaster but people like Dave do not 'spend the time' to read how TVA information.

“new executive at IBM ”

That explains a lot. An executive without the ability to listen to diverse ideas. Who knew!

Why is that people like the computer industry who use power somehow thinks that translates too producing power. If DavdD had limited his comments to software, I would not be calling him clueless.


@ DaveD & KitP.

Please cool it down and use your energy more positively.

Roger Pham

My question is how cost-effective would it be to implement AC Kinetics motor control technology into all of the current-technology AC motors at home and in the industry in order to realize tremendous savings in electricity consumption?

Kit P may not like to see this reduction in electricity consumption since he is in the business of making electricity, but then, not sure why he is so much against BEV that will increase electricity consumption? Night-time charging will avoid further investment in power production, while day-time charging can take advantage of PV panels' peak power production.

Thanks, DaveD for bringing up the very important point of energy security in the transportation sector. With existing rate of Federal budget deficit of $1T/yr and the rate of US trade deficit with the world, the USD will seriously decline in value, and there will reach someday in which the USD will no longer be accepted by oil-exporting countries. At that point, domestically-produced electricity will be very valuable to keep America moving. Domestic petroleum will then be reserved for farm tractors, trucks and planes, while cars like PHEV's and BEV's will run on electricity. PHEV like the Ford C-Max Energy is made in the USA, including the battery pack, so it's not an imported item that will be subjected to aggravating the US-world trade deficits. Strategic energy security will require more production of domestically-made PHEV's and BEV's, and strategic planning should see to it that more of this will happen.


"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
- Upton Sinclair

Kit P


“not sure why he is so much against BEV”

I am not against BEV just the stupid things people say. When BEV makes economic sense for me I will go buy one.

“AC motors at home”

All the large motors in my home run at a constant load.


LOL Harvey, I don't read Kit's post anymore. He's not here to discuss anything so I just ignore his strange ranting.

@Roger, that is exactly what I think will eventually happen. And getting to that point so that we don't have so much incentive to stick our nose into world affairs is important to reduce our military spending...and the number of incidents we become involved in. That energy security is really important for our economic health, long term. You and I have had debates about flywheels vs batteries/supercaps in the past. It's nice to be able to debate with someone intelligent and learn something.

@ai vin :-)



Please keep on posting. Your positive ideas and observations are a pleasure to read.

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