Two Fayetteville Energy Projects Net $4M In Grants

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy recently awarded $30 million in grants to 21 projects nationwide, as part of the Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuits Using Inventive Topologies and Semiconductors (CIRCUITS) program.

Two of the recipients are based in Fayetteville.

They are the University of Arkansas and Cree Fayetteville Inc.

The university received $2.16 million to develop a 2 by 250 kW power inverter system for use in the electrification of heavy equipment and other higher volume transportation applications, like trucks, buses and cars, according to a news release.

The team will leverage silicon carbide power electronics devices to achieve high levels of efficiency while greatly increasing the volumetric and gravimetric power density of its system over existing ones. The team’s goal is to achieve an improvement of four times the power density and reduce converter cost by 50 percent compared to today’s technology.

Cree Fayetteville received $1.91 million to develop a DC fast charger for electric vehicles using a solid-state transformer based on silicon carbide.

Such a device could improve efficiency (by greater than 60 percent), size/weight (the device could be more than 75 percent smaller and 85 percent lighter), and cost (materials could cost 40 percent less), the release states.

The team’s goal is to construct a 500 kW building block for a DC fast charger that is at least four times the power density of today’s installed units.