Fayetteville, AR, United States

Arkansas Power Electronics International

www.apei.net
Fayetteville, AR, United States

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Patent
Arkansas Power Electronics International | Date: 2015-01-30

A power module with multiple equalized parallel power paths supporting multiple parallel bare die power devices constructed with low inductance equalized current paths for even current sharing and clean switching events. Wide low profile power contacts provide low inductance, short current paths, and large conductor cross section area provides for massive current carrying. An internal gate & source kelvin interconnection substrate is provided with individual ballast resistors and simple bolted construction. Gate drive connectors are provided on either left or right size of the module. The module is configurable as half bridge, full bridge, common source, and common drain topologies.


Patent
Arkansas Power Electronics International | Date: 2014-10-17

A power die module using a compression connection to a power die in a small package with corona extenders positioned around short efficient path exterior electrical connections. The module is built from a baseplate with connected sidewalls forming an interior compartment holding a power substrate with attached threaded inserts. A printed circuit board bolted to the power substrate with high voltage power die compressively held between the board and the substrate. The compressive hold enhances the electrical connections between the contacts on the top and bottom of the power die and either the power substrate or the printed circuit board. Exterior blade connectors extend upward from the printed circuit board through blade apertures in a lid that covers the interior compartment. The lid includes corona extenders positioned around the blade apertures to allow for high voltage applications while maintaining a small size lightweight package. The sidewall has a perimeter that also includes one or more corona extenders.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

Power generation and transmission limits manifest themselves in the inability to respond to dynamic peak power demand. Load leveling can effectively support dynamic demand changes by having additional standby power generating capabilities. This is achieved by either 1) having a generation and distribution infrastructure that matches the peak demand and it is operated under its full capacity spinning reserve) or 2) having additional power plants that can be brought online to provide additional power. These methods, though effective, are economically costly because power generators are underutilized, likely operating at a lower efficiency point, or because power generating infrastructures are left unused for large portions of time. Grid-connected energy storage systems are intended to enhance performance and reliability of the utility infrastructure. Unlike load-leveling methods, grid-tied energy storage solutions can provide the flexibility to react to dynamic peak power demands in an economical manner. By storing energy during off-peak power demand and releasing it during peak demand, grid-tied energy storage systems can effectively shift the dynamic power demand profile seen by the grid infrastructure. In this regard, grid-tied energy storage systems are an attractive alternative to improve the performance of the current grid infrastructure. The trend in energy storage systems is to package the energy storage element alongside the power electronics into a standard shipping container. A containerized energy storage system yields many logistical advantages for transportation and deployment. Containerized energy storage solutions require the minimization of the associated power electronics in order to provide more volume for energy storage devices. The power electronics minimization requirement is exacerbated by the need to still operate at high efficiency to minimize power loss and therefore minimize operating cost. There is currently a need to develop minimal volume power electronics to interface with grid-tied energy storage systems in the physical confinement of a containerized application. Consequently, APEI is proposing to develop a high efficiency, high power density >75 kW at > 2 state-of-the-art designs), transformer-less, GaN- based three-phase > 480Vac output, grid-tied inverter for interfacing with containerized energy storage systems. A GaN-based power topology will be designed to enable bi-directional power flow to support energy storage. As such, there is an incentive to pursue size reduction of the passive components associated with switched- mode power conversion. GaN power switches can efficiently operate at high switching frequencies. One of the key benefits of high frequency operation is the significant reduction in size of the transformer used in the power conversion system. APEI has successfully implemented GaN-based systems capable of operating in the MHz range while still providing high efficiency as seen in Error! Reference source not found.. Furthermore, since GaN die have the capability to operate at higher temperatures, simpler cooling systems can be utilized to further reduce packaging size and complexity. The United States consumed approximately 3,800 TWh of electricity in 2012. At such a massive level, even small increases in efficiency can have a prominent impact. Assuming that 30% of the yearly total is processed by power electronics at 85% efficiency, for every 1% average efficiency increase, there would be an annual cost savings of over $2 billion at $0.15 per kWh [ ]) and a reduction of 25 billion lbm of CO2 emissions assuming 1.77 lbm of CO2 per kWh) in the United States alone [ ]. The significance of efficiency is accelerated even further as the proliferation of available sources for readily harvestable energy increases and a growing focus is placed on renewable electric resources such as wind, solar, and tidal. Improvements in the efficiency and power density of the requisite power converters in electric systems ranging from grid-tied energy generation and storage to transportation-based power systems will have a substantial impact as less energy is wasted and more weight and volume in a system may be utilized elsewhere additional battery capacity, etc.).


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.99K | Year: 2015

Power generation and transmission limits manifest themselves in the inability to respond to dynamic peak power demand. Load leveling can effectively support dynamic demand changes by having additional standby power generating capabilities. This is achieved by either having a generation and distribution infrastructure that matches the peak demand and it is operated under its full capacity or having additional power plants that can be brought online to provide additional power. These methods are economically costly because power generators are underutilized, likely operating at a lower efficiency point, or because power generating infrastructures are left unused for large portions of time. Grid-connected energy storage systems are intended to enhance performance and reliability of the utility infrastructure. By storing energy during off-peak power demand and releasing it during peak demand, grid-tied energy storage systems can effectively shift the dynamic power demand profile seen by the grid infrastructure. There is currently a need to develop high efficiency power electronics to interface with grid-tied energy storage systems. Consequently, APEI is proposing to develop a high efficiency, high power density, modular (>50 kW at > 2 power density of state-of-the-art Si designs), high frequency (> 20 kHz; 100 kHz target), GaN-based DC-DC converter with > 800 Vdc output, for interfacing with grid-level energy storage elements, such as batteries. A high frequency, GaN-based modular power topology will be designed to enable bi- directional power flow to support energy storage. One of the key benefits of high frequency operation is the significant reduction in size of the transformer used in the power conversion system. APEI has successfully implemented GaN-based systems capable of operating in the MHz range while still providing high efficiency. Smaller magnetic components result in an overall system cost reduction while delivering operational cost improvement through higher efficiency Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The United States consumed approximately 3,800 TWh of electricity in 2012. At such a massive level, even small increases in efficiency can have a prominent impact. Assuming that 30% of the yearly total is processed by power electronics at 85% efficiency, for every 1% average efficiency increase, there would be an annual cost savings of over $2 billion (at $0.15 per kWh) and a reduction of 25 billion lbm of CO2 emissions (assuming 1.77 lbm of CO2 per kWh) in the United States alone. The significance of efficiency is ever important as renewable sources such as wind, solar, and tidal energy become more prevalent. Grid-tied energy generation and storage to transportation-based power systems will be.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.98K | Year: 2015

Geothermal energy is a cost effective, reliable, environment-friendly, and sustainable energy source that has been utilized for space heating since Roman times but is now in recent years has become more attractive for its use in electricity generation. In order to harvest this energy, components must be subjected to extreme environments driven by high temperatures and pressures between the crust and core of the Earth. Conventionally, a downhole actuator system is based on a hydraulic technology and up until this point; the electronics have been limited to monitoring and logging type functionality. However, to eliminate the complexity of hydraulic systems and increase the productivity of harnessing geothermal energy, a pure electrical system is ideal. In this Phase I SBIR project, APEI will design and develop a high temperature 300 C) SiC- based power module with an integrated silicon carbide SiC) application specific integrated circuit ASIC) gate driver for geothermal applications. The advantage of this power module is high temperature operation with extended reliability while subjected to harsh environments associated with downhole drilling.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.97K | Year: 2015

A modular high voltage (>10 kV), high power density silicon carbide-based power switch will be designed and developed to withstand the extreme environments associated with military applications in surface and underwater vehicles. This high performance, high reliability power switch will exhibit modularity for ease connecting to the system for a variety of circuit topologies, high reliability to withstand extreme environments and operation conditions, ease of manufacturing to lower cost and improve yield, minimal parasitics to enable high frequency switching and maximize efficiency, and reduction of thermal resistance to increase power density and reduce cooling requirements. In Phase I, the power switch will be designed such that the thermal, mechanical, and electrical characteristics are optimized to achieve a high performance package that can withstand the extreme temperature range from -225 ?C to 150 ?C. In addition, a model will be developed to estimate output power and efficiency once integrated into a power converter. Phase II work will focus on building and full characterizing the ultra-compact high power (+200 kW) conversion system such that it can be seamlessly transitioned into existing naval systems.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2015

The objective of this proposal is to develop and commercialize a high reliability, high temperature smart neutron flux sensor for NASA Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) systems. Arkansas Power Electronics International (APEI) and International Femtoscience (FemtoSci) technology offers the following: (1) 600+ degC ambient operation of a full wireless smart sensor system (2) Extreme-environment electronics utilizing wide band gap integrated circuits and advanced magnetic components (3) CVD nano-diamond neutron flux sensor for near-core measurements, capable of operation to >700 degC (4) Harsh environment packaging technologies to ensure reliable operation at 700 degC (5) Radiation hard, high temperature electronics will offer high reliability nuclear propulsion instrumentation, as well as provide solutions for terrestrial nuclear power generation instrumentation.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2014

In this Phase II proposal, APEI, Inc. will continue development of its patented high temperature gate driver technology, enabling the next generation of high-efficiency, high power density converters. At the conclusion of Phase II, APEI, Inc. will have designed, fabricated, and tested a high temperature (300 C) SiC application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) gate driver. The fabricated SiC ASIC gate driver will then be integrated into an APEI, Inc. power module, providing for a next generation smart power module solution.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2013

Next generation Naval warships utilize increasingly powerful and integrated radar systems, such as the next generation Air Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), for their versatile missions. The AMDR system combines a wide variety of functionalities, including: horizon search, missile communication and guidance, volume search, and ballistic missile defense and discrimination. While AMDR enhances critical mission capabilities, it is also expected to increase the power requirements of the ship's generation and distribution system. The required combination of high power density, high efficiency, and high input voltage rating of the required radar power supplies precludes the use of conventional Silicon power semiconductors and power topologies. As a result, the next-generation of radar power supply systems requires a new and revolutionary power electronics design that delivers superior speed, efficiency, and voltage capabilities to yield system level miniaturization. This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project seeks to develop next-generation radar power supplies capable of high power (2.5 kW), high efficiency (>90%), and high input voltage (1000 V) which are compact (>200 W/in3) and require minimal output energy storage (


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 998.58K | Year: 2013

Arkansas Power Electronics International, Inc. will design and develop a high performance, high voltage ( & gt; 15 kV) SiC MCPM that is low cost, manufacturable, reliable and reworkable. The target utility scale energy storage applications include power conversion systems for grid-tie, solar array, wind turbine, and vehicle-to-grid to aid in load leveling, frequency control, voltage fluctuations in order to improve the overall power quality and reliability. Presently, most power conversion systems are based on Si IGBTs. However, due to the unique capabilities of SiC and advancement of power converter packaging, this work has the potential to aid in the emergence of smarter, seamless powered grids with less of a dependence on inefficient peak power plants. Phase I work included i.) designing and building a HV discrete demonstrator capable of housing 15 kV SiC devices, ii.) demonstrating a 3 reduction in parasitic inductance in the power loop, iii.) designing 15 kV SiC half-bridge MCPM exhibiting a low junction to case thermal resistance of 0.045 C/W with an extremely low profile of 14 mm (0.57 in) in a standard footprint, iv.) performing a system analysis that highlights a 70 reduction in mass and a 34 reduction in volume, and v.) developing target specifications based on customer needs and existing HV power die. In Phase II, a HV SiC MCPM will be developed such that the assembly process can be easily transferred to manufacturing facilities. The thermal characteristics of the MCPM will be measured to verify the low junction-to-case thermal resistance of the package. Additionally, static and dynamic electrical testing of the MCPM will be performed over temperature to characterize and validate the high temperature packaging design and materials as well as low parasitic impedance packaging scheme. Reliability testing of key MCPM subcomponents such as the power substrate to baseplate attach will be performed to evaluate the materials and developed assembly process. Beyond Phase II, APEI, Inc. will focus on manufacturing process yield optimization, reliability and qualification testing, and marketing of the HV SiC MCPM.

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