RISE ICT stories: Smarter use of electric energy

Electrumlab

One of the main consequences of global development is the increasing demand for electric energy. This poses a serious threat to the global climate as long as electric energy generation relies predominantly on the fossil fuels. This demand, in conjunction with limited natural fuel resources, and threats from climate changes, are major factors behind the need to use electric energy in a more efficient way.

SiC Power Center is a new platform for collaboration between industry, research institutes and academia. The objective is to promote the introduction of silicon carbide power electronics in the applications where high-energy efficiency, compactness and high-temperature operations provide significant system advantages. Silicon carbide (SiC) is a robust electronic material suitable for large voltages, currents, and high temperatures. The main target areas for a SiC-based component technology include electric energy converters for transportation systems, such as hybrid and electric vehicles, and the future distributed power grid (the so-called “smart grid”).

The transformation is already here

Profound technology driven changes are already taking place regarding power electronics products and systems. One of the driving forces is to maximize the output power by minimizing the energy lost to heat. The power electronics used in generation, distribution and consumption of electric energy is becoming more efficient and smarter through integration of SiC technology with ICT (Information and Communication Technology).

The vision of the future society encompasses the smart total energy system integrating power electronics, SiC and ICT technologies also in the structure and management of the multifaceted complex electric energy system based on renewable energy sources.

Some of the elements of the future energy system are industrial infrastructure, mass transportation systems, e-mobility, intelligent houses and offices, data servers, electric energy generation plants and energy storage.

In this way, SiC-based electronics is a key factor due to the unprecedented potential to facilitate very compact and extremely energy efficient systems. The importance of ICT relies on the necessity to control and coordinate a complex electric energy flow involving decentralized generation, storage and distribution of energy (“smart grid”). Integration of power electronics, SiC and ICT technologies in the products, electronic systems, energy system at large and social infrastructure and use of new materials and technologies builds a basis of the future sustainable society based on efficient and smart use of electric energy. Industries will be able to benefit from the different needs and challenges that will become evident from this.

SiC Power Center is led by RISE Acreo in collaboration with KTH, Swerea Kimab and large industrial partners such as Volvo Car, Bombardier, ABB, and Alstom Power Systems, among others.

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SiC Power Center

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