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High Power Density (100 kW) Silicon Carbide (SiC) Three-Phase Inverters

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2006 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Arkansas Power Electronics International, Inc.
535 W. Research Center Blvd. Fayetteville, AR 72701-6559
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2006
Title: High Power Density (100 kW) Silicon Carbide (SiC) Three-Phase Inverters
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-05ER84143
Award Amount: $750,000.00


With worldwide energy consumption becoming an epidemic and the future need for power conservation self evident, the improvement of power conversion systems and the reduction of energy waste has become a global priority. This project will develop very compact, light-weight, silicon carbide power converters, capable of operation at high efficiencies and high junction temperatures. Silicon carbide ¿ which offers higher blocking voltages, higher operating temperatures, higher frequency, and lower switching losses compared to other more conventional devices ¿ is a new semiconductor material with the promise of vastly exceeding the constraints of devices based on silicon. High temperature operation will result in highly miniaturized and power dense converters, with an order-of-magnitude smaller footprint and reduced volume over state-of-the-art silicon systems. In Phase I, a single-phase, silicon-carbide-based, three-kilowatt inverter module was built and tested, achieving significant volume reduction (85% smaller) over similar, state-of-the-art , single-phase inverter modules based on silicon. The feasibility of high temperature operation beyond 500°C at the junction was demonstrated. Phase II will design, build, and test a high-energy-efficiency, silicon-carbide, 100-kilowatt, three-phase inverter system with a size and volume reduction of 75%, compared to state-of-the-art silicon-based inverters, with nearly an order-of-magnitude increase in power density. The approach will utilize a multichip, power-module design strategy, which integrates control and power devices into a single module, and will allow for higher frequency operation. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: By improving electrical efficiencies through the use of silicon carbide electronics, and in implementing the technology in a wide range of power converter applications, the technology should have the potential to save billions of dollars annually in wasted energy. Commercial power-electronics systems that would significantly benefit from these high efficiency energy improvements include: high efficiency and low cost industrial motor drives, light-weight motor drives for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, power inverters for renewable energy and power distribution/transmission, and backup power supplies for telecommunications systems.

Principal Investigator:

Alexander B. Lostetter

Business Contact:

Sharmila D. Mra. Mounce
Small Business Information at Submission:

Arkansas Power Electronics International, Inc.
700 Research Center Boulevard Fayetteville, AR 72701

Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No