Research

Solar Panel based Power Conversion:

Gallium nitride (GaN) is superior to Si in many respects.  It offers a lower on-resistance, faster switching speeds, and no reverse recovery charge.  This project explores the benefits of using GaN in both transformerless and isolation-based module integrated inverters. The goal is to develop optimize solutions that utilize the benefits of GaN while remaining compliant with relevant grid-tied power conversion standards. - Advisor: M. J. Scott

Solar Light Simulator:

Depending on the time-of-year, it can be difficult to test a solar powered inverter using strictly panels. This project investigates an optimal lighting structure for testing solar panels indoors. While other approaches have sought to replicate the sun spectrum (per AM0 spectrum ), the goal of this project is to generate the most amount of energy from an array of solar panels through optimizing the number and type of lights given the constraints of system cost and available power. The motivation for this work is to conduct future studies into electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) of grid-tied inverters. - Advisor: M. J. Scott

Solar Powered Drip Irrigation System:

Speciality crops require continuous irrigation throughout the growing cycle to realize optimal yields. This can be difficult in areas that do have access to electricity and municipal water. This goal of project is to develop an ‘off-grid’ irrigation system for providing water to a small plot of land. - Advisor: M. J. Scott

High Voltage DC (HVDC) Transmission Systems for Fusion Reactor:

The generation of plasma inside of a tokamak reactor requires a complex network of high voltage power supply (HVPS) systems. Currently, many of the topologies in the HVPS use thyristors as the primary switching element. This generates harmonics that require filtering and consumes reactive power, which needs to be compensated before the point of common coupling. For example, the ITER system being built in France will have 750 Mvar of reactive power compensation and harmonic filters as a result. This research explores replacing the existing HVAC system, with an HVDC system based on modular multilevel converters (MMC) to minimize this issue. Furthermore, it examines silicon carbide (SiC) as a potential technology for realizing future HVPS architectures. - Advisor: M. J. Scott

Silicon Carbide Motor Drive Systems:

In hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) drivetrains, the losses in silicon (Si) semiconductors power devices can consume as much as 10 % of the system’s energy. Silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs have many advantages of Si IGBTs at HEV voltage/current levels. New device technology could realize game changing performance in electrified transportation. This research utilizes these SiC MOSFETs in novel circuit topologies to increase the functionality and performance of the drive system. - Advisor: M. J. Scott