Project:

High Efficiency Electrical Energy Conversion (EPSRC Platform Grant)

From February 2009 to January 2014
Project Leader(s): Prof. Barrie Mecrow
Sponsors: EPSRC (EP/F067895)

Providing adequate energy is one of the most important problems facing mankind. In the future we must provide and use energy with far less impact on our environment than we do now. The very best form of providing adequate energy is to "use" less of it to do what we want. Our research centres round the theme of energy efficiency in line with the Government White paper "Meeting the Energy Challenge", May 2007.

Over half of all electricity generated is converted from/to mechanical work via electrical machines. We will be researching how, in such energy conversion systems, we can significantly improve energy efficiency without loss of function. To achieve these gains we will combine the latest developments in electric systems with new designs for the mechanical system, freed up by the ability to use the latest power electronic systems.

We will research energy efficient electrical machines, using new soft magnetic materials giving lower iron loss at low cost; low cost, high temperature, high energy magnets; higher temperature operation; new construction methods; very high speed operation; topologies with reduced winding loss, including hoop winding machines.

We will research lower cost power electronic converters, employing increased integration and reduced passive component sizes, with new devices, materials and technology to increased switching speeds and reduced conduction drops.

By reducing the cost of drives their penetration into markets previously reserved for fixed speed and brushless systems is increased. We will work with fluid flow experts to produce new fan, pump, compressor etc designs for SYSTEM maximum efficiency with complete freedom of speed.

There are tremendous advances in power electronic devices, with silicon carbide offering increased efficiency, alongside very high temperature operation. We will be working closely with researchers of these devices, so that energy efficient electric drives technology can be introduced into new environments and applications, including aerospace and automotive applications.

The specific aim of this funding is to conduct an innovative and often speculative research programme concerning high efficiency electrical energy conversion, including motor and generators, power electronic converters and drive systems. The funding will enable us to retain critical research staff and provide for their career development within a secure and stable employment environment. In addition to the above research we will engage with complementary experts in mechanical loads to optimise system efficiency; enhance worldwide links with internationally leading academic groups and industrial manufacturers of electrical machines and drives; provide innovative concepts to UK manufacturing industry, thereby contributing to its international competitiveness; contribute towards reducing CO2 emissions from electrical systems.



Objectives

1. To conduct an innovative and often speculative research programme concerning high efficiency electrical energy conversion, including motor and generators, power electronic converters and drive systems.
2. To retain critical research staff and provide for their career development within a secure and stable employment environment.
3. To take a high level systems approach, engaging with complementary experts in mechanical loads to optimise system efficiency .
5. To enhance worldwide links with internationally leading academic groups and industrial manufacturers of electrical machines, power electronic equipment and drives.
6. To provide innovative concepts to UK manufacturing industry, thereby contributing to its international competitiveness.
7. To contribute towards reducing CO2 emissions from electrically driven systems.

Staff

Dr Matthew Armstrong
Lecturer in Control of Electrical Power

Dr Dave Atkinson
Senior Lecturer..

Professor Alan Jack
Emeritus Professor

Professor Barrie Mecrow
Professor of Electrical Power

Professor Volker Pickert
Professor of Power Electronics

Dr Bashar Zahawi
Senior Lecturer