Funding Program: SuNLaMP
SunShot Subprogram: Systems Integration
Location: National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA
SunShot Award Amount: $4,238,040
Awardee Cost Share: $276,895

This project will develop new power electronics devices, systems, and materials to address power electronic and dispatchability challenges that result from connecting hundreds of gigawatts of solar energy onto the electricity grid. These devices will incorporate advanced high-frequency (HF) magnetics along with the latest wide bandgap silicon carbide (SiC) switches. This design enables cost-effective grid integration of PV while increasing its dispatchability.


This project will address the coupling between active devices and HG magnetic components by developing advanced DC-DC and DC-AC converter-based integrated modules, and associated systems architectures and topologies. DC-DC integrated modules will be designed for series and parallel connection to a medium voltage DC-bus at the input of a high-power inverter for utility-scale grid interconnection. DC-AC modules will also be designed and explored for a direct grid-connected cascading inverter design. Transformer cores comprised of newly-developed amorphous and nanocrystalline nanocomposite alloys will be used for the power electronics module design.


The National Energy Technology Laboratory will develop internationally competitive technologies for PV grid integration, including advanced converter topologies, systems architectures, and HF magnetics. The team’s research efforts will further the scientific understanding of soft magnetic nanocomposite alloy chemistry, alloy scale-up and commercial-scale processing development, advanced core fabrication process development, and HF parasitic reduction through use of engineered HF magnetics.


The research conducted under this project resulted in the National Energy Technology Laboratory earning a Carnegie Science Center Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Award for its permeability engineering through strain annealing technology. Strain annealing manufacturing refers to the heat-treating of advanced high frequency magnetics materials. In this project, soft magnetic metal ribbons were treated under tension to create electromagnetic cores. This project’s trajectory demonstrates an effective solution in the development of market-ready, innovative power electronics designs.