Research:  Improved Power Electronics

Within the framework of the communication and information technology development program IKT2020 the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is supporting the research project “Compact Electronic Modules with a High Capacity for Electromobility, Propulsion and Lighting Technology” or “ProPower” for short.  21 partners from industry and the sciences are participating in this joint project.  Siemens AG has taken the leading role. 16 million Euros of funding was granted for a period of three years.  In this project, the aforementioned challenges will be systematically addressed at all levels of the supply chain.

Propulsion Technology

The so-called converters between the battery and the motor, indispensable parts of the propulsion technology in modern electric vehicles, do not yet meet the demands of manufacturers and customers in regard to the space that they require and their current reliability.  In this project the goal of creating a basis for a new generation of energy efficient, miniaturised and reliable power electronics, for example, for use in electromobility, is being targeted: inefficient active cooling is to be avoided as much as possible.  

LED Lighting

In this sector the necessary electronics are not yet completely integrated into the lamps either.  Often, such LED lights must still be operated from an additional ballast and are consequently expensive.  The goal is to pack as much functionality as possible into a small volume of space  because the level of integration is the deciding factor for innovative electronics in propulsion and lighting systems.  In global competition, cost-optimised mass production plays a market-dominating role. A top priority in the research project is thus placed on suitable production technologies with which highly efficient LED electronic modules can be efficiently manufactured.  

Uses of the Project Results 

The technologies that the project “ProPower” will develop can have a leveraging effect beyond propulsion and lighting technologies. For this research electronic modules from several power classes will be considered. The goal is the manufacturing of more efficient power electronics. Through the collaboration of partners across the entire supply chainfrom the suppliers of the components to the light and automobile manufacturers – the interplay between all of the necessary components and procedural steps can be thoroughly investigated. We are pursuing the goal of creating joint solutions which can contribute to the manufacture of improved electronic modules in the future which will meet the increasing demands for energy efficiency, effectiveness, power density, and reliability