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Integrated, Intelligent modular power electronic converter

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - I2MPECT (Integrated, Intelligent modular power electronic converter)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

Power electronics with minimal losses and integrated cooling on modular basis are a key technology for future energy-efficient “more-electric” aircrafts. I2MPECT investigated solutions based on highly integrated modules and wide band-gap semiconductors, which are capable to outperform conventional Si based converters by an efficiency of up to 99%. The objective of the project was to translate this efficiency gain into a 10% reduction in aircraft weight, 13% reduction in engine thrust and 9% reduction in fuel consumption, resulting in significant improvements both economically and environmentally.

I2MPECT has developed and demonstrated an innovative, ultra-compact, highly reliable and efficient power electronic converter with extended functionalities primarily for aerospace, but also for other markets. This has been achieved by exploring innovative 3D packaging and cooling concepts, integration of full SiC power electronics with ultra-compact passives and intelligent gate drive circuits. Additionally new control algorithms and health monitoring techniques with intelligent external communication supported the outstanding performance of the system. Specifically, I2MPECT targets have been:
- Reduced maintenance cost and a significant increase in lifetime through active prediction of maintenance with online health monitoring, intelligent condition monitoring.
- Increased efficiency with reduced losses in power module by about 60% as well as a loss reduction of passive components in electric machines.
- Power density increased from 2kW/kg today at least 10kW/kg;
- Innovative cooling technology and a weight reduction by at least 50% for converters and machines;
- Cost reduction by modular and highly integrated power electronics building blocks (production and certification).
- Increased safety and reliability with enhanced functionality through continuous condition monitoring, active power/thermal management and integrated sensing.

In general, all relevant project objectives could be achieved according to the DoA. The results regarding efficiency, weight/power density and modularity are as intended or better while there is still potential for improvements regarding reliability.
The activities of the first project period focused on the elaboration of the requirements and intended features of the converter system as well as the design of all relevant components and parts of the converter. Based on this, the converter and its components as well as the modelling tools and test benches were developed and validated in the 2nd period. For further information on the technical work and achievements, see WP summaries below.
WP 1, Requirements and specifications:
- Definition of the system requirements, intended features and key parameters for the system and its components, condition monitoring and the thermal management,
- Development of a representative mission profile to enable component sizing and analysis.

WP 2, System design and concepts:
Main achievement was the design and of the power modules according to the requirements, with the following characteristics:
- Optimal thermal and electrical performance,
- Low power losses, low number of components, weight, cost and manufacturability,
- 2-level topology,
- 3D packaging with highly reliable interconnection technologies for optimized volume and switching,
- Integration of passive components and sensors for current and temperature monitoring,
- Innovative gate drive concept with improved switching performance and feasibility,
- Concepts for modular building blocks for different system configurations and requirements.

WP 3, Simulation and modelling:
- Comprehensive suite of tools and methodologies for detailed simulations of all major aspects of the SiC converter,
- Detailed analysis of the thermal behaviour of the cooling system and accurate models for temperature estimations in different operating conditions
- Thermal models for the simulation of three-dimensional temperature distributions

WP 4, Hardware integration:
Design, development and validation of
- Module assembly and interconnection technologies for optimal layout,
- EMI filter designs and concepts,
- Planar interconnect technology and improvements of the manufacturing,
- Condition monitoring of the power module,
- Concepts for protection against lightning,
- Several cooling concepts.

WP 5, Safety and reliability:
- Investigation of different concepts for condition monitoring resulting in the development of Temperature Sensitive Electric Parameters (TSEPs) based techniques; extensive tests and validation
- Data monitoring and acquisition methods and circuits
- Power cycling tests on SiC-power modules and identification of possible failure mechanisms

WP 6, Demonstrator:
- Definition test cases and procedures for the converter and its components
- Development of test-benches and analysis/validation SW for validation of the project objectives and requirements
- Manufacturing and integration of all boards and components of the inverter demonstrator
- Validation of the converter and its components.

WP 7, Dissemination and exploitation:
- Establishment and monitoring of project communication and dissemination procedures and channels,
- Dissemination of all relevant project outcomes, mainly by the research partners but also the industrial partners, with focus on scientific journals and conferences,
- Exploitation of the converter and its components as well as the knowledge gained in the project by the industrial partners; exploitation of the tools, models and general experiences by the research organisations,
- Identification of potential standardization topics, based on the modular building block concept.

WP 8, Project management:
- Initialization of the project with setup of the project bodies and definition of responsibilities, management and communication processes,
- Monitoring and control of the project progress w.r.t. to the project plan,
- Quality assurance of the results and risk management,
- Management of the external and internal communication as well as reporting.
- Increased efficiency compared to the SoA (Si converters) in range of 65...84%.dependent on the operation conditions,
- increased power density of the converter in range of 300…600% compared to Si solutions,
- modular building block concept enabling a wide range of applicability for aviation purposes.

Aircraft industry and certification:
- Benefits of the generic I2MPECT “More electric aircraft” technologies for the aircraft manufacturing and maintenance by improved electrical power generation, conversion and utilization;
- New architectures by intelligent and flexible electronic modules, enabling new redundancy concepts increased safety and decreased costs;

- Reduced need for of pneumatic and hydraulic power sources in aircrafts by the “More electric air-craft” technology;
- Reduction of energy losses in the aircraft with reduced fuel consumption.

- Cost savings and increased competitiveness for the European aircraft manufacturers and suppliers;
- maintain and increase the technology leadership of the European aerospace industry,
- Potential benefits for other industrial areas with need for highly efficient power electronics, e.g. marine, rail transportation, automotive, oil/gas, renewable energy.