Smart components for the power grid use SiC

April 19, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
When electric cars are being quick-charged, high amounts of energy are needed at charging stations for a short time. Such peak loads lead to bottlenecks in the electricity grid and are one of the problems in the expansion of electromobility. The numerous challenges of the energy transition require a flexible and reliable power grid that compensates for fluctuations in energy consumption and generation. A key element for this could be the Smart Transformer, at which the research group Power Electronics of the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel (CAU) is conducting research

The research team has developed a prototype based on silicon carbide power semiconductors that controls the current flow. It could be used not only for better integration of charging stations into the power grid, but also in data centers or for the connection of DC networks.

In the course of the expansion of renewable energies, the number of decentralized energy producers and consumers such as wind power plants and charging stations is increasing. "The conventional infrastructure is not designed for bidirectional current flows," says Professor Marco Liserre, Professor of Power Electronics at CAU. The new power electronics components could help to distribute electricity according to demand and thus better control the energy grid and counteract overloads and failures. Together with his research group, Liserre has developed a power electronic transformer that transforms medium voltage into low voltage with only minor energy losses and also enables DC connection. "We want to modernize the power grid and make it fit for the energy transition. What we need is a flexible, efficient and above all reliable system," Liserre continues.


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