Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact Inverter for Uninterruptible Power Supplies


Silicon Carbide Components Enable Efficiency of 98.7 percent

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for electrical devices.

New materials boost efficiency: Fraunhofer ISE develops three-phase 10 kW UPS inverter with a volume of just five liters and an efficiency of 98.7 percent.

© Fraunhofer ISE

Efficiency of the UPS inverter demonstrator developed by Fraunhofer ISE at different output powers.

© Fraunhofer ISE

The demonstrator, which contains innovative silicon carbide components, was developed in cooperation with an industry partner and achieved an efficiency of 98.7 percent. The research and development findings can be applied to other areas of electronic power conversion in which weight and efficiency play a key role, e. g. electric mobility or portable power supply.

UPS inverters ensure that electrical devices continue to be supplied with power during disruptions to the power grid. In combination with a battery, they allow electrical power outages of varying lengths to be bypassed. For particularly critical loads, such as computer centers, online UPSs offer the highest protection as they are connected between the grid and the load and are thus able to compensate for any disruptions stemming from the grid.

This does mean, however, that all energy is transferred via the UPS inverter even during periods of disruption-free operation. Efficiency therefore plays a very important role for this application, as it is closely connected with the costs required to operate the UPS. This context provided the starting point for the Fraunhofer ISE project, which has now been successfully completed.

Compact and highly efficient in one

Using silicon carbide (SiC) transistors, scientists were able to showcase a UPS inverter with an output of 10 kW and a volume of just five liters. Despite its highly compact design, the inverter still achieved a very high efficiency of 98.7 percent. The good dynamic and static properties of the SiC transistors, such as on-state resistance and switching loss, permit a switching frequency of 100 kHz.

This is around five times higher than that of conventional power electronic silicon components, yet does not significantly increase losses in the semiconductors. Thanks to the high switching frequency, the passive elements in the system, such as inductors and capacitors, could also be reduced in size, while the low losses in the semiconductors permitted the implementation of a compact cooling system for the transistors.

Lower costs thanks to higher efficiency

“On the whole, this design saves system-related costs and materials. In comparison to using a conventional clock rate of 16 kHz, we were able to reduce the size and price of the main inductance in our UPS inverter by around two thirds,” says Cornelius Armbruster, development engineer and member of the team “Future devices and high-efficiency converters” at Fraunhofer ISE. For applications in online UPS systems, efficiency is even more important than reducing materials, as it not only compensates short-term voltage dips in the grid, but also ensures that electrical devices are continuously supplied with power via the UPS.

The annual energy demand of a small server room with a typical capacity utilization amounting to half of the rated power of the UPS system is around 44,000 kWh. Depending on the efficiency of the UPS inverter, the energy demand increases to cover the losses that occur in the inverter, thus explaining the considerable impact that UPS inverter efficiency has on operating costs in the form of electricity costs. In comparison to a conventional system with an efficiency of around 97.4 percent, the newly developed demonstrator (98.7 percent) can reduce annual costs by around 40 percent.

Silicon carbide: a material with prospects

For many years, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has been researching and developing highly efficient power electronics for renewable energy systems and the application of the latest components made from gallium nitride and silicon carbide. The technology demonstrator showcased by Fraunhofer ISE, which was commissioned by ROHM Semiconductor, once again highlights the potential of these semiconductor materials.

The SiC transistors used in the demonstrator were provided by ROHM Semiconductor, one of the market leaders in the development of silicon carbide semiconductor components. Thanks to this semiconductor material, transistors will be available for even higher currents in the future, allowing systems to achieve considerably higher output powers.

Weitere Informationen:

Karin Schneider | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging
25.10.2016 | Colorado State University

nachricht Did you know that infrared heating is an essential part of automotive manufacture?
25.10.2016 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>