Out Technical Partner Dr. Charlie Elliott decided to get in the spirit of things and take his own 30kWh Nissan Leaf to LCV this year. It wasn’t just for the free parking (although he has been in Yorkshire for over 30 years so something must have rubbed off by now) but also as a bit of a show of solidarity. Two stops for 20 mins each on the way there and back to rapid charge was no issue at all with a coffee and a few e-mails written each time. Charging was free at the event and he even made use of the measured mile at Milbrook to see how the leaf did – a ton wasnt a problem! He reported that LCV has grown again and it was great to see so many UK based outfits working hard in the Low Carbon Vehicle sector. We may have to think about taking a stand next year.
We are delighted to report that we have just kicked off another significant project using SiC MOSFETs. In the past 18 months we have been working on two SiC based motor drive systems. One is for an EV project where the attraction of SiC is the power density and part load efficiency benefits. The latter in particular is essential as it offers potential for reduction in battery pack capacity/size/cost or alternatively additional range. The other existing project is for an ultra high-efficiency motor drive where size is especially important and cost less so.
This new project is for higher power 500 kVA static-power conversion system where being able to switch at 20 kHz and above is essential to reduce the size of filtering components and eliminate switching frequency audible noise. Up at these kinds of power / current levels there is no choice but to parallel commercially available power modules. This brings it’s own challenges in terms of gate drive function and power circuit layout to ensure sharing of losses and to eliminate the potential for the modules to oscillate against each other. SPS will be using it’s wealth of experience in core power electronics technology and it’s extensive laboratory equipment to carry out this work for our client.
We are not exhibiting at PCIM this year as PEMD was so close but our Technical Partner (Dr. Charlie Elliott) is going to visit. This key exhibition is a great opportunity to see the very latest in new technologies and meet with many key suppliers. Charlie spends a considerable about of time maintaining our excellent direct links with many power semiconductor, passive component, signal level control, isolation, sensor and ancillary component technology companies. This assists SPS in providing cutting-edge future-proof designs for its customers and also ensures that if any technical issues are identified with components that they can be resolved as rapidly as possible.
We are now back from the PEMD 2018 Conference and Exhibition which was held last week at the ACC in Liverpool. As expected we had warm welcome from the folks on the other side of the Pennines. Liverpool docks is a fantastic area to visit. Well worth a long weekend. The event was well attended and we had plenty of interest in our stand showing the huge diverse range of power electronics we have been involved in.
The papers presented were on a very broad range of topics. For me one of the stand-out areas being looked at by Sheffield University was in the area of using piezoelectric devices as resonant electric transformers at lower powers. A transformer with no windings with power transferred by vibration!! There was also a very interesting tutorial discussion on which of the various power semiconductor technologies is the “best” at 600V. For sure that is an interesting battleground.
The week commencing 29th January was a tad busy for our Technical Partner Dr Charlie Elliott!!
Tuesday 30th was the Reinforcing the Grid for the Roll Out of Electrical Vehicles event in London. A very well attended event with interesting and diverse talks. It was particularly interesting to hear from National Grid who think that provided simple charging delay is used so not everybody charges starting at 5-6pm, the increase in demand is very manageable. They think with 150 or so clusters of rapid chargers along key roads (which are often close to the HV grid) a very high percentage of the population will be covered and really range anxiety should become a thing of the past.
Wednesday 31st was the Vehicle To Grid event organised by Cenex and LEVEL in Nottingham. There were a wide range of talks and it was clear that there is still much debate about how people will be able to generate revenue from V2G. One thing is for certain is that it is a great opportunity and that specialist kit available at a sensible price needs to be developed. Watch this space as V2G is a perfect space for SPS given it’s past experience and capabilities!!
Thursday 1st February was the Power Electronics Grand Challenges meeting in Birmingham organised by Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network, Power Electronics UK and the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult. This meeting was held to discuss direction for potential work with the CSA Catapult and to review whether the 3 grand challenges previously identified with PEUK were still valid. There was much lively debate and the possibility of rolling in the high power requirements for electric powered short haul flights was thrown into the mix. Very interesting times!!!
Charlie commented that it is very clear that new and challenging Power Electronics applications are being identified all the time. Bring it on!!
Our Technical Partner, Dr. Charlie Elliott, is attending this fascinating discussion being held in London on the 30th Jan 2018. As SPS is involved in both smart grid and EV charging development it will no doubt be great of great interest. Charlie is looking forward to meeting other professionals within this sector and learning more about this crucial subject.
The concept of using EV battery storage as a distributed flexible energy storage system for the grid is not new. It has been talked about for many years. Our technical partner Dr. Charlie Elliott can recall conversations going back almost 10 years. These days it is called Vehicle to Grid and abbreviated to V2G. Charlie, along with Peter Moriarty one of our Principal Engineers, will be going to the Training Workshop on 31st Jan 2018 organised by LEVEL with Cenex. If you are going please call by our table for a chat as this is an area we are very interested in and have exactly the right skill set to develop the technically challenging bi-directional power flow chargers required.
We are exhibiting at the PEMD2018 Conference which is being held in Liverpool between 17th and 19th April 2018. We will be bringing with us a selection of examples of work we have done in the past which demonstrates the very diverse range of power electronics applications we work on. We are looking forward to also attending the conference which will no doubt have an excellent range of high quality papers. Please call by our stand and have a chat if you are coming.
We are delighted to announce that SPS will be collaborating with one of its longest standing customers Ceres Power Ltd. on a new Innovate UK project for the next 18 months. This is aimed at taking the existing fully-qualified compact power electronics (PE) system for domestic micro CHP and making it production ready for other markets including the Far East. The existing PE unit has been in constant use for 8 years at Ceres Power, including the SteelGen™ units deployed with British Gas in the European funded ene.field programme.
SPS is looking forward to the opportunity to apply the latest technologies to the system as well as gain experience in different geographical markets each of which has their own challenges.
SPS has recently joined two industry bodies which closely reflect the type of work it is involved in. Both are managed and promoted by TechWorks https://nmi.org.uk/techworks-launch/.
AESIN – The Automotive Electronic Systems Innovation Network http://aesin.org.uk/ is a dedicated UK initiative focused on the accelerated and advanced delivery of Electronic Systems into Automotive Applications and infrastructure. This is another perfect fit given the work we do on xEV systems and other intelligent actuator and motor drive systems for automotive applications.