The Don Rowe Blog

Mar 17

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Power Inverters With Infinite-Level Wattages

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Seriously?  Power inverters that employ a single switching transistor and have the capability to generate infinite-level wattages?  Yes sir, it’s true!  Power-inverter enthusiasts who are at least somewhat savvy regarding inverters and how they operate, realize that these electronic devices are at the heart of several renewable energy technologies–solar power, battery storage, electric vehicles, motor drives and the manufacturing of high-tech robots—all, of which, use power inverters to economically create AC power.

Current Inverters vs. Inverters of the Future:

Most inverters on the market today have multiple switching transistors which generate limited voltage levels.  Some less expensive power inverters produce unwanted voltage-frequencies and require filters to minimize undesired effects to the electric grid.  With that being said, let’s take a trip to Purdue University at Indianapolis where we meet an assistant professor by the name of Dr. Afshin Izadian who is a researcher at IUPUI.  As of October of 2012, Professor Izadian actually created a prototype for a new ‘species’ of power inverter that would be much lighter and, therefore, less expensive and more efficient than models we are familiar with today.  While studying how voltage levels and polarities are created in inverters, Dr. Izadian, while reconfiguring an inverter’s circuit—eureka!–discovered a new property technique that makes it possible to create infinite voltage levels and invert the voltage polarity of power circuits!  This was the springboard that led to the unplanned creation of the new ‘species’ of power inverter.  This research, also, led to the discovery of a number of other circuits and controllers for high-power inverters with lower switching loss, higher voltage performance and lighter reconfigured circuits—wow!

Why Does This Matter?

In a nutshell, with Dr. Izadian’s discovery, unwanted harmonics which, by the way, can contaminate the AC grid voltage, are greatly minimized.  A practical beneficiary of this breakthrough would be car manufacturers who would be able to reduce the size and insulation of traction motors; and as a result, electric vehicles could be produced noticeably less expensively.   Not only that but the size and weight of the power electronics could also be reduced which would result in enhanced fuel economy in hybrid cars and mass-transit vehicles, such as buses.

On a more global scale, this would translate into a more embraced acceptance of green technologies due to fewer cost-prohibitive barriers for renewable energy for homes, vehicles and businesses.  In other words, the renewable energy market could evolve into a whole, new dimension with the operative word being ‘affordability’.

A Reality Before Long?

The possibility of Dr. Izadian’s breakthrough impacting the renewable energy market remains exciting.  His cutting-edge prototype is currently being reviewed by a technical journal; and several well-known corporations have serious interests in this type of advanced power inverter.  After all, big businesses, would have an inherent interest in utilizing simpler, cheaper, smaller and more efficient inverter systems which would equate to increased savings and heftier profits.  Several patents are pending on Dr. Izadian’s prototype and he is seeking financial backing to bring the commercial ‘birth’ to his product, and finally bring it to fruition!

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