Center for High Performance Power Electronics
Established through a $9.1 M Ohio Third Frontier grant, CHPPE is forging the way for a new generation of technologies in power electronics and systems.
CHPPE’s research focuses on new power electronics technology that utilizes Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) power devices. While this technology will initially be applied in the automobile and aerospace industries, ultimately it will offer innovation to myriad industries that utilize power electronics, as well. The CHPPE research team includes experts and Ph. D. students in wideband-gap power devices, innovative power converters, and demanding applications for unprecedented performance.
Mission Statement: “Once completed, CHPPE will be a world-class power electronics laboratory, located at the Ohio State University, specifically designed to exploit the high temperature, high frequency operation and efficiency advantages of silicon carbide (SiC)-based power electronics.
Details: Today, the power semiconductors of choice are Si-based. When compared to Si, SiC power semiconductors offer 50 to 100 degrees Centigrade higher operating temperatures, 3 to 10X higher switching frequencies (up to 2X smaller converters) and lower switching losses (3-4% more efficient converters). These gains have been made practical by Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and US Air Force Research Laboratory investments of more than $300M over the last two decades. Although initial cost estimates for SiC power semiconductors range from 2 – 10X that of silicon, the base materials and processing techniques are similar. In the long term, then, it is likely that economies of scale will make the cost of SiC comparable to that of Si.
Although the initial application of SiC power electronics will likely be in the aerospace market, as the costs moderate, SiC will eventually become ubiquitous in application. These applications will include the electric and hybrid electric vehicle industry, and renewable energy systems including wind and solar; eventually SiC will find its way into consumer products.
CHPPE seeks to put Ohio first in the adoption of SiC power electronics. OSU’s existing Power Electronics Laboratory will be capitalized with instrumentation, software and test hardware to exploit SiC-based power electronics for Ohio industry. In addition, a hardware-in-the-loop facility specifically designed to exploit SiC has been established within CHPPE. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB and GE at Vandalia will collaborate with OSU to commercialize the first Ohio products using SiC.
CHPPE’s location at OSU will provide critical capability for Ohio companies as they compete for world dominance in the application of SiC devices to power conversion products. CHPPE will evolve from aerospace centric capability for the first few years into a research facility that will serve all of Ohio industries, including uninterruptable power supplies, variable speed motors for air conditioners, power converters for linking photovoltaic energy conversion to the utility grid and even the nascent electric/hybrid electric vehicle industry.
From a training and education perspective, OSU is in the process of modifying its curriculum to include SiC power electronics switching circuits and control techniques for graduate level consumption. In addition, OSU is also developing short courses for consumption by engineers of Ohio companies wanting to exploit SiC power electronics. This effort is leveraged with an ongoing curriculum reform in OSU’s electric power related teaching, funded by the DOE and led by Dr. Jin Wang and Dr. Longya Xu and supported by nine professors from three departments and multiple organizations including American Electric Power, Duke Energy, Ohio Energy Project and OSU Institute for Energy and the Environment. Both GE and AFRL have indicated that they share a desire to both work with and potentially hire OSU students trained in the design and implementation of SiC power electronics.”
Dr. Xu's overview presentation can be viewed here