Fayetteville Firm Wins R&D Award for Work on Power Module

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Tuesday, Jul. 28, 2009 9:15 am  

R&D Magazine has named Arkansas Power Electronics International, Inc. of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas' National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission as recipients of the 2009 R&D 100 Award for their high-temperature silicon carbide power module.

APEI is an Innovate Arkansas client.

A joint development between APEI, the University, Rohm Company LTD., and Sandia National Laboratory, the APEI power module is the world's first commercial high-temperature silicon carbide-based power electronics module. With application in hybrid and electric vehicles, renewable energy interfaces and electric aircraft, the APEI power module reduces size and volume of power electronic systems by an order of magnitude over present state-of-the-art silicon-based solutions while simultaneously reducing energy loss by greater than 50 percent, translating to significant potential energy savings.

According to APEI's President and CEO Alex Lostetter, "the performance increases developed from our power module are not incremental, they are revolutionary."

Power electronic modules are the core components of all power electronic systems. They are required to drive electric motors such as those utilized in all electric or hybrid vehicles, but are also necessary to convert energy from renewable sources such as solar arrays and wind generators.

Power electronic systems convert electrical energy from one form provided by a source to another form consumed by a load. One byproduct of this energy transformation is heat, which can be destructive to some silicon-based electronics. Because the APEI power module utilizes silicon carbide, it can operate at much higher energy efficiencies and at temperatures up to 250 degrees Celsius, which are considered major breakthroughs in power electronics.

Established in 1962, the R&D 100 Awards are presented to the most technologically significant new products of the year. According to R&D Magazine Senior Editor Paul Livingstone, "these are the cream of the crop in high-tech products from a wide spectrum of innovators."

Located in the Arkansas Research & Technology Park in Fayetteville, APEI is dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art technology in power electronics systems, electronic motor drives, and power packaging. Since its founding 10 years ago, APEI has become a worldwide leader in the advanced power electronics field.



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