The Don Rowe Blog
A New Class Of Power Inverter
Power inverters are complex devices which are designed to convert DC (direct current) electricity into AC (alternate current) electricity for a myriad of applications. These would include anything from household appliances to boating to military assignments in challenging, isolated environments. Many advanced applications such as variable speed drives, high efficiency induction heaters and high-efficiency power transmission require the use of power inverters, also, for seamless conversion of DC into AC electricity.
There’s a new kid on the block as far as power-inverters are concerned. A once-thought-to-be-impossible power inverter has emerged—one that could be far less expensive and more efficient than renewable-energy products currently on the market. This breakthrough coincides with the fact that power inverters are smack dab in the middle of a number of intense renewable-energy technology research studies. When you consider that power inverters are necessary for solar power, battery storage, electric vehicles, motor drives and manufacturing robots, you begin to realize why the research being devoted to power inverters is so extensive.
Where It All Started:
A professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis gets credit for his invention of this new class of power inverter. Professor Afshin Izadian is his name; and his power inverter uses a single switching transistor and it generates infinite-level voltages. The new and improved power inverter was the result of reconfiguring an electrical circuit during an experiment while studying how voltage levels and polarities are created in inverters. Once Izadian tweaked the inverter circuit, it was then that he discovered a new property technique to create infinite voltage levels and invert the voltage polarity of power circuits. Voile`! His new class of power inverters was born. Unexpectedly, additional discoveries emerged involving several other circuits and controllers for high-power inverters with lower switching loss, higher voltage performance and lighter reconfigured circuits.
Professor Izadian felt existing power inverters needed to be modified since they generate limited voltage levels, are heavy, can create voltage frequencies and require filters to minimize harmful effects to the electric grid. Izadian’s power inverter would cost less, weigh less and be more efficient– he states: “An on-demand change of voltage polarity might not seem very exciting, but it becomes increasingly important if you can accomplish it while maintaining desired voltage amplitudes.”
Commercial introduction for Izadian’s power inverter could take place towards the end of 2015.
So, What Does All This Mean?
Izadian’s invention has some very exciting, practical applications; and though it won’t see it’s full emergence on the retail market just yet, it’s worth keeping an eye one when you consider the benefits:
1: Undesirable harmonics are greatly minimized.
2: With minimized harmonics, car manufacturers can reduce the size and insulation of traction motors which means electric vehicles can be produced less expensively.
3: Since the size and weight of power electronics can be reduced, fuel consumption in hybrid cars and buses can be dramatically decreased.
4: Renewable energy for homes and businesses can become far more affordable.
5: The utilization of more green technologies can be realized, which is good news for everyone.
Simpler, cheaper, and smaller systems with better performance than today’s technology—that’s what cutting-edge research with green-power technology can produce!