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Energy Efficiency

July 2020
ETRI Develops Eco-Friendly Color Thin-Film Solar Cells

The eco-friendly color CIGS thin film solar cells developed by ETRI researchers.

Research on solar cells to secure renewable energy sources are ongoing around the world. The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in South Korea succeeded in developing eco-friendly color Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) thin-film solar cells. CIGS thin-film solar cells are used to convert sunlight
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07/31/2020
Multi-Group Team Awarded $60M for Solar Fuels Research

Scientists at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis create new materials by spraying combinations of elements onto thin plates.

The quest for renewable fuels harvested from the sun continues, as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced two new major awards focused on advancing artificial photosynthesis technologies for the production of fuels from sunlight. As part of this effort, DOE has awarded $60 million to a new solar fuels in
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07/31/2020
EnergyMark Announces Approval for PJM Electric Grid Service
EnergyMark has announced their approval for service in the PJM Electric Grid, which serves 65 million energy users and is the nation's largest regional power transmission system. PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 stat
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07/28/2020

C2 Energy Capital Works to Guide School Solar Project
C2 Energy Capital LLC announced the completion of a one-megawatt solar power project for the Otsego Local School District located near Bowling Green, Ohio. The company financed, owns, and operates the project. The first clean energy project of its kind with the local Tontogany utility, C2 Energy Capital supported re
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07/28/2020
60 Watt Industrial/Railway Converter w/ 4:1 Input Range
TRACO POWER’s new 60 Watt TEN 60WIR family of high-performance DC/DC converters offer an ultra-wide 4:1 input range in a 1 x 2” footprint. Standard models come pre-packaged with a heatsink extending the footprint to 1.60 x 2.00 x 1.00” for improved thermal performance. The TEN 60WIR family consists of 24 mode
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07/28/2020
The Solar Cell you can Print

PhD student Nasim Zarrabi from the Sustainable Advanced Materials Programme (Sêr?SAM) at Swansea University using the sealed "glovebox" which ensures ultra-clean conditions for the high-tech manufacturing process for next-generation solar modules.

A £6 million award will drive next-generation solar technology into new applications. The grant brings together three world-renowned research groups from Swansea University, Imperial College London and Oxford University to advance organic and perovskite solar cells into applications that current solar tec
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Date:
07/27/2020
Using Bidirectional Programmable DC Power Supplies for Battery Testing

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Figure 1. The placement polarity checker and the safety contactor

In today’s fast-paced world the need to create quicker, more mobile mechanical devices is steadily increasing. One primary method for doing this is to replace traditional gas powered or plugged-in devices with battery power. Batteries have become smaller and increasingly efficient as a result. In order to ke
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07/24/2020
New Technology Makes Homes More Energy Independent

Mixed neighborhood used in the researchers' computer simulation. Open circles denote nodes where homes have PINE systems and dark, filled circles are nodes where homes do not have PINE. All homes receive energy from the grid.

In a new study, researchers from Texas A&M University and industry have designed a smart technology that can help utility companies better serve communities affected by blackouts. The researchers said their single device works by improving energy delivery between home solar-power systems and the electrical gr
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07/24/2020
PSDcast – The H-1B Visa Restriction (Good for the Industry?)

Chris Dries, the President and CEO of UnitedSiC

You’ve probably heard that President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security took actions with mammoth ramifications for our industry. To whit, Trump restricted H-1B visas for engineers, computer programmers and other technical workers through 2020. Is this a boon for domestic employment or a shackle fo
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07/23/2020
New Material Generates Hydrogen from Salt and Polluted Water
Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with teams from the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague and Jan Evangelista Purkyn University in Ústí nad Labem have developed a new 2D material to produce hydrogen, which is the basis of alternative energy. The material efficiently generates hydrogen mo
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07/22/2020
Lithium Ion Battery Waste Used in Biodiesel Production

The two-phase system containing biodiesel (upper phase) and glycerol (lower phase)

The production of biodiesel from vegetable oil has been around for more than 150 years, and the approach significantly reduces several pollutants associated with burning fossil fuels. Vegetable oils, however, can be notoriously difficult to use in an engine, providing low power output and release of unique toxic by
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07/22/2020
Diamonds Shine a Light on Hidden Currents in Graphene

A picture of an electrical current in graphene (marked by the red outline) showing a fluid-like flow imaged using a diamond-based quantum sensor. The grey portion is where the metal electrical contacts prevented collection of data.

It sounds like pure sorcery: using diamonds to observe invisible power swirling and flowing through carefully crafted channels. But these diamonds are a reality. JQI Fellow Ronald Walsworth and Quantum Technology Center (QTC) Postdoctoral Associate Mark Ku, along with colleagues from several other institutions, in
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Date:
07/22/2020
SiC Power Modules to Support Solar PV Inverters
ON Semiconductor has introduced a full SiC power module for solar inverter applications, which has been selected Delta to support its M70A three-phase PV string inverter portfolio. The NXH40B120MNQ family of full SiC power modules integrate a 1200 V, 40mΩ SiC MOSFET and 1200 V, 40 A SiC boost diode with dua
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07/20/2020
Lignin-Bio-Aviation Fuels for Reducing Greenhouse Gas

The team, led by Dr. Jeong-Myeong Ha of the Clean Energy Research Center at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology(KIST), has developed a technology that can be used to mass-produce aviation-grade fuels from wood wastes. The ability to produce aviation-grade fuel from wood waste is expected to help international aviation companies comply with the new strong emissions regulations, which are scheduled to go into effect in 2027.

A Korean research team has developed a key technology for the mass-production of bio-aviation fuels. The team, led by Dr. Jeong-Myeong Ha of the Clean Energy Research Center at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), has announced its successful development of a technology that can be used to mass-
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07/17/2020
Flyback Switcher IC for Automotive BEV and PHEV Applications
Power Integrations announced the production release of the InnoSwitch 3-AQ, an AEC-Q100-qualified flyback switcher with integrated 750 V MOSFET and secondary-side sensing. The newly qualified device family targets automotive EV applications, such as traction inverter, OBC (on-board charger), EMS (energy management DC
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07/16/2020
Solar FlexRack Supplies Trackers for Primergy Solar Projects
Solar FlexRack announced that the company has supplied Primergy Solar with its TDP and TDP 2.0 Solar Trackers for 14 projects, all of which will supply energy to schools in Illinois. Located in the north and central sections of Illinois, the projects together total over 8 megawatts (MW). "Primergy Solar has
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07/15/2020
UNIPOWER Announces Highly Efficient Modular Inverter Systems
UNIPOWER LLC announces its new family of Bravo inverters that provide customers with a highly efficient and modular AC or DC power solution. The Bravo inverters offer a modular and fully scalable solution using hot-swap inverter modules at 2.5kVA 120VAC or 3kVA 230VAC. The Bravo ECI and TSI models are compa
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07/15/2020
Perovskite Solar Cells Record Highest Power Conversion

Perovskites can be used to create light-weight flexible and semi-transparent solar cells ideal for applications in buildings and a variety of urban spaces.

A team of researchers at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has created a perovskite solar mini module that has recorded the highest power conversion efficiency of any perovskite-based device larger than 10 cm2. Perovskites are new materials that have emerged as promising alternati
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07/14/2020
Energy Storage Capacitors Available in 7 Smaller Case Sizes
Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. announced that its ENYCAP electrical double-layer energy storage capacitors for energy harvesting and power backup applications are now available in seven smaller case sizes ranging from 10 mm by 20 mm to 12.5 mm by 40 mm, with capacitance values from 5 F to 22 F. With their new
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Date:
07/13/2020
The Love-Hate Relationship of Halide Perovskites w/ the Sun

The atomic structure of mixed FACsPbI3 perovskite, where it separates into two CsPbI3 (green region) and FAPbI3 clusters under light excitation.

Solar cells made of perovskite are at the center of much recent solar research. The material is cheap, easy to produce and almost as efficient as silicon, the material traditionally used in solar cells. However, perovskite cells have a love-hate-relationship with the sun. The light that they need to generate el
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Date:
07/10/2020
PSDcast – A Major Research Collaboration for Lead Batteries
With our big automotive electric and hybrid issue right around the corner, we thought it’d informative to revisit one of the most critical topics in that space – energy storage. And we can think of no better source for that topic than the Consortium for Battery Innovation. Consortium for Battery Innovation
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07/09/2020
IC Eases Design of 48 V/12 V Dual Battery Automotive Systems

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Figure 1. Next-generation cars will be powered by a 12 V and a 48 V battery

The future of 48V/12V battery systems in automobiles is just around the corner. Most of the major automobile manufacturers across the globe have been working on proving out their systems for the past few years and it is evident that their implementation will be relatively near term. This is a necessary and crucial ste
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Date:
07/09/2020
ROHM and LEADRIVE to Develop SiC Inverters Together
ROHM and Leadrive Technology (LEADRIVE) held an opening ceremony of their joint laboratory on SiC technology in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (Lingang New Area). SiC power devices have been adopted increasingly in onboard vehicle chargers and DC/DC converters. These devices provide several ad
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Date:
07/08/2020
Battery Project Makes Room for More Rooftop Solar in Decorah
Clean, solar energy is a good thing. But it can also affect the performance and efficiency of the electric grid. An innovative battery-storage solution in Decorah, Iowa, jointly supported by Alliant Energy, US Department of Energy (DOE), and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), looks to seamlessly co
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Date:
07/08/2020
Highlighting Advances in e-Mobility
Dwindling oil reserves, rising pollution levels and the increasing threat from global warming have made e-mobility an urgent area of focus for most governments. A recent report from the Committee on Climate suggests that to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, all new vehicles produced must be pu
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07/07/2020
Film Capacitors for Green Energy and Automotive Applications
KEMET announces three new series of metallized polypropylene dielectric film capacitors: C44U-M, C44P-R, and R75H. Constructed with an aluminum canister design, both the C44U-M and C44P-R power film series address the increasing demand for high-power conversion systems in green energy and industrial applications. Th
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Date:
07/07/2020
Atomic 'Swiss Army Knife' Measures Quantum Materials

Top: Photo of a sample inside the scanning probe module showing the eight electrical contacts to a plate containing the sample to be studied. In the center the probe tip and its reflection in the sample can be seen. Bottom: Atomic force image of an aluminum sample showing the arrangement of atoms measured at 0.01 Kelvin (-459.65 degree Fahrenheit). The red curve shows the aluminum film is superconducting by having an electrical current with zero voltage.

It images single atoms. It maps atomic-scale hills and valleys on metal and insulating surfaces. And it records the flow of current across atom-thin materials subject to giant magnetic fields. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a novel instrument that can make th
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Date:
07/06/2020
Electrolytic Capacitors for Electric Vehicle Charging

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Figure 1. EV on-board charger block diagram showing capacitor-stabilized DC link

Automotive remains one of the fastest growing sectors of the electronics industry as car makers look to new technology to increase safety and reliability, support new connected user experiences, and improve economy and emissions. The evolution to electric powertrains from the traditional internal combustion en
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Date:
07/02/2020
The Smarter the Car, the More It Needs GaN

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Figure 1: The MOSFET solution (top) for a 3 kW 48 V – 12 V DC-DC converter requires five phases compared with the eGaN FET solution (bottom) with only four phases. The eGaN FET solution is 35% smaller and 20% less expensive

As the new decade emerges, it is becoming clearer that the trend in automotive is electric. Internal combustion engines (ICE) are succumbing to hybrid and full-electric vehicles.  Along with that major shift in propulsion comes a variety of accessories that need to convert to electric.  In addition, ne
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07/02/2020
Efficient WBG Power for Medium Voltage Applications

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Figure 1: Example historical cascode circuits

Perhaps the power conversion industry is now familiar with the concept of the ‘cascode’ device when applied to silicon and wide band-gap semiconductor hybrids, achieving a close approximation to the normally-off, ideal switch, with easy gate drive and a range of other benefits. The idea goes back to 1939 wh
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07/02/2020
Wide Bandgap Enabling a Bright Future for Solar Power

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Figure 1: Block diagram of a typical solar power inverter system

Of the various forms of renewable energy in use, solar and wind power have become the most often deployed and are responsible for the majority of clean, renewable power generated. Of the two, solar is becoming the dominant technology, generating almost twice the power output of wind power. In fact, the amount of
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Date:
07/02/2020
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Battery?
  Just how dangerous are electric car batteries? Objectively, not very, but EVs and hybrids are the new kids on the block, and new is scary. And a new battery electrolyte developed at Stanford could help alleviate our collective anxiety. We’ve all seen the headlines – EVs catching fire after accidents, bat
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Date:
07/02/2020
Mathematical Noodling for Insights into old Fusion Problem

PPPL physicist Christopher Smiet helped produce findings that could bring fusion-produced electricity closer to being a reality.

A challenge to creating fusion energy on Earth is trapping the charged gas known as plasma that fuels fusion reactions within a strong magnetic field and keeping the plasma as hot and dense as possible for as long as possible. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Lab
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Date:
07/01/2020
Transportation Electrification – Where Will it Take Us?
  What I like to call the “electrification of transportation” is the fundamental transformation of the way we will transport ourselves over long distances. The driving forces to becoming a fully electric vehicle (EV) automotive market are energy efficiency and infrastructure. Automotive electroni
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07/01/2020
CS Energy Completes 33 MW Texas Solar Portfolio
CS Energy, LLC, has successfully completed a portfolio of solar projects in Texas. At 32.7 MWdc, the portfolio will generate enough renewable energy to power more than 5,000 homes each year. The Texas portfolio is comprised of three separate properties: a 14.5 MW project located in Brooks County; a 7.3 MW
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Date:
07/01/2020