Integrated Power Conversion Systems (IPCS)
Leader: Dushan Boroyevich, Virginia Tech
The goal of the Integrated Power Conversion Systems (IPCS) thrust is to develop technologies that will enable future, power electronics based, and electric energy distribution systems. The state-of-the-art electric power system, especially the large-scale power system, is still largely an electromechanical system, developed in the early 20th century. Although it has long been argued that power electronics converters can help improve system controllability, reliability, and overall energy and power efficiency, their penetration in power systems is still quite low. The often-cited barriers of higher cost and lower reliability of the power converters are quite high if power electronics is used as a direct, one-to-one, replacement for the existing electromechanical equipment. However, if the whole power distribution system were designed as a system of controllable converters, the overall system cost and reliability could actually improve, as is currently the case at low power levels within computer and telecommunications equipment. These same benefits are currently being demonstrated on autonomous systems such as in vehicular systems.
The vision of the IPCS thrust is to develop concepts for integrated electronic power distribution systems (EPDS) that can impact applications from computer servers to data centers, from cars to airplanes and ships, from homes to distributed energy sources and to the grid. The new IPCS thrust inherits the previously existing IPEM-PCS thrust, with scope expanding to wider power and application range. With the new vision, there are four major research focuses: 1) system architecture design and optimization; 2) power management and control; 3) high-density converter integration; and 4) EMI modeling, analysis, and management. The application focus will be on autonomous, distributed power systems, and on emerging applications such as portable, alternative, and sustainable energy sources.