Power electronics is the engineering study of converting electrical power from one form to another. At a world-wide average rate of 12 billion kilowatts every hour of every day of every year, more than 40% of the power generated is being reprocessed or recycled through some form of power electronic systems. By 2010, it is expected this will increase up to 80%. A lot of energy is wasted during this power conversion process due to low power conversion efficiency. It is estimated that the power wasted in desktop PCs sold in one year is equivalent to seventeen 500MW power plants! It is therefore very important to improve the efficiency of these power conversion systems. It is estimated that with the widespread use of efficient and cost-effective power electronics technology, the world could see a 35% reduction in energy consumption.
The Power Electronics and Power Systems area at NCSU conducts research in the fields of electrical power systems, power electronics systems, power management microsystems and power semiconductor devices.
In power electronics sytems research, we are particularly interested in applying power electronics technology to transform our nation's aging electric grid system from a passive one to an active one. Breakthroughs in power semiconductor devices, power converter technology, advanced control technology and energy storage systems are the keys to reducing the cost of power electronics systems and at the same time improving their efficiency and reliability.
In the area of electric power systems, we look to the "big picture" of how power electronics system and renewable energy resources will improve and transform our nation electric power systems. Adapting computer, control, and system analysis techniques, we study large power system operation and planning problems in the electrical grid when advanced power electronics, energy storage and renewable energy sorurces are incorporated into the grid. Diagnosing and controlling electric power system faults is another focus of our work.
In power management microsystems research, we focus on how to use power integrated circuit technology and integrated passives technology to develop advanced power management converters for battery powered, handheld, or laptop power management applications. Novel controllers are developed for powering future generations of microprocessors or cell phones.
In the power semiconductor devices research, we develop advanced high voltage power devices based up on wideband gap materials like silicon carbonate and gallium nitride. We also study low voltage power devices for power management applications.