Skip to main content

Integrated, Intelligent modular power electronic converter

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I2MPECT (Integrated, Intelligent modular power electronic converter)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Power electronics with minimal losses and integrated cooling on modular basis are a key technology for future energy-efficient “more-electric” aircrafts. I2MPECT investigates solutions based on highly integrated modules and wide band-gap (SiC and GaN) semiconductors, which are capable to outperform conventional Si based converters by an efficiency of up to 99%. The project expects 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 develops and demonstrates an innovative, ultra-compact, highly reliable and efficient power electronic converter with extended functionalities primarily for aerospace, but also for marine, rail transportation, automotive, and renewable energy applications. This will be achieved by exploring innovative 3D packaging and cooling concepts, by integration of full SiC power electronics (switches and diodes) with ultra-compact passives and intelligent gate drive circuits. Additionally new developed control algorithms and health monitoring techniques with intelligent external communication will support the outstanding performance of the system. Specifically, I2MPECT targets:
- 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;.
- Considerable 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.
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. For further information on the technical work and achievements, see WP summaries below.
WP 1, Requirements and specifications:
- Definition of the system requirements including mechanical electrical interfaces, constraints and intended features for the system components, condition monitoring and the thermal management,
- Development of a representative mission profile to enable component sizing, thermal and cyclic analysis,
- Definition of the key parameters of power module (current & voltage capability, thermal capability, reliability and lifetime).

WP 2, System design and concepts:
Main achievement was the design 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 reduced volume and faster switching,
- Integration of passive components and sensors for current and temperature monitoring,
- Concepts for modular building blocks for different system configurations and requirements.

WP 3, Simulation and modelling:
- Development of a comprehensive suite of tools and methodologies for detailed simulations of all major aspects of the proposed SiC power electronic converter,
- Detailed analyses of the thermal behaviour of the cooling systems, resulting in accurate models for temperature estimation in different operating conditions
- Thermal models for the simulation of three-dimensional temperature distributions
- Integration to a suite of comprehensive electro-thermal simulation tools

WP 4, Hardware integration:
- Module assembly and interconnection technologies for optimal layout where SiC MOSFETs control, EMI impact and thermal reality are interfering,
- Development of EMI filter designs and gate drivers,
- Definition of the condition monitoring of the power module,
- Concepts for protection against lightning,
- Definition and prototyping of cooling concepts.

WP 5, Safety and reliability:
- Investigation of different concepts for condition monitoring resulting in the selection of Temperature Sensitive Electric Parameters (TSEPs) based techniques
- Development of a data monitoring and acquisition circuit board for measurements
- Parameter measurements on SiC power modules and identifications of suitable TSEPs.
- Power cycling tests on SiC-power modules and identification of possible failure mechanisms

WP 6, Demonstrator:
WP6 activities concern the realization, the manufacture and the testing of the inverter and its components. According to the work plan, the demonstrator has not been set up yet and no testing results are available.

WP 7, Dissemination and exploitation:
The activities in WP7 are mainly related to dissemination, while exploitation and standardization have not started according to the project plan. An internal dissemination plan has been elaborated, collecting dissemination opportunities as well as conducted activities. Further, the project has set up the I2MPECT website.

WP 8, Project management:
In the reporting period, the project has been initialized, including the setup of the project bodies and the initiation of the internal management and communication processes. The project progress was monitored w.r.t. to the project plan by the Coordinator and the Steering Committee and the quality of the project results as well as the project risks were managed.
- Increased efficiency and weight both for the converter and the controlled e-machines (approximately loss reduction 60%) with increased power density;
- Increased reliability and safety, by failure modes analysis, active thermal management, prognostic on-board health monitoring, leading to reduced maintenance costs;
Aircraft industry and on 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 at airports by the “More electric air-craft” technology;
- Avoidance of tests of hydraulic or bleed air based aircraft power sources with running engines, i.e. when passengers are on board, leading to reduced delays for passengers in case of malfunctions.
- Cost savings and increased competitiveness for the European aircraft manufacturers and suppliers;
- maintain and increase the technology leadership of the European aerospace industry.
Other industries
- Benefits for any industry area, where power electronic converters are applicable, e.g. marine, rail transportation, automotive, oil/gas, renewable energy.
I2MPECT WP Workflow
Overview I2MPECT Objectives