New Inverters Could Advance Hybrid Electric Vehicle Development
March 9, 2005
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), together with colleagues from industry and academia, are investigating powerful new inverters incorporating silicon carbide transistors and diodes. These devices could help speed hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) development and lead to advances in a number of other areas. Compared to conventional silicon-based power semiconductor switches, the silicon carbide devices are much more reliable and allow for smaller, lighter, and far more efficient power devices and converters.
Working with Rockwell Scientific Co., scientists in ORNL's Engineering Science and Technology Division and at the University of Tennessee have developed 1,200-volt, 15-amp silicon carbide transistors and diodes and have produced a 7.5-kilowatt inverter. These new devices boast vastly higher power densities than silicon-based converters. They will be used ultimately in traction drives in hybrid vehicles and could have applications for distributed power. The U.S. Department of Energy's FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program is funding the research.
For more information, contact Ron Walli.