University of Arkansas professor Alan Mantooth has received $3.2 million through the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy for two projects that will accelerate the development and deployment of a new class of efficient, lightweight and reliable power converters.
Power converters and other electronic devices condition, control and convert electrical power to optimize the transmission, distribution and consumption of electricity. The award will fund work to reduce the size and complexity of these systems.
Mantooth will serve as lead investigator for "Reliable, High Power Density Inverters for Heavy Equipment Applications," which received $2.16 million. The project focuses on developing a 2-by-250 kilowatt, dual-power inverter system for use in the electrification of heavy equipment and other, higher-volume transportation vehicles, such as trucks and buses.
That research team includes Yue Zhao, assistant professor of electrical engineering; David Huitink, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Jia Di, professor of computer science and computer engineering; Juan Carlos Balda, professor of electrical engineering; Caterpillar, Wolfspeed and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Robert Pilawa-Podgurski, associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will lead the second project, "Enabling Ultra-compact, Lightweight, Efficient, and Reliable 6.6 kW On-board Bi-directional Electric Vehicle Charging with Advanced Topology and Control." It received $1.73 million, of which the UA researchers will receive $461,604.
Mantooth is a member of the research team, which also includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Delphi Automotive.
The project will focus on developing a lighter and more efficient on-board electric vehicle charger.