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Cheap Renewable Energy

At Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis an assistant professor, Afshin Izadian, has invented a new class of power inverter that could help put cheaper and more efficient renewable energy products on the market. The power inverter that he created employs just a single switching transistor and generates infinite-level voltages. Power inverters are the main technology of several renewable energy technologies. Solar power, battery storage, electric vehicles, motor drives and manufacturing robots all use inverters to generate AC power efficiently.

The current inverters with multiple switching transistors generate limited voltage levels, are heavy, and require filters to reduce the harmful effects to the electric grid. Izadian, while studying how voltage levels and polarities are created in inverters, he made his discovery. While working on another project he had an epiphany and began reconfiguring an inverter circuit and discovered a new property technique to create infinite voltage levels. He then inverts the voltage polarity of power circuits. This leads to a corollary insight that he employed to create the new class of inverters.

The bench test worked so well that it lead to the discovery of several other circuits and controllers for high-power inverters with lower switching loss, higher voltage performance and lighter reconfigured circuits.

Car manufacturers can reduce the size and insulation of traction motors so that electric vehicles can be made cheaper. The size and weight of the power electronics will also be reduced. This will boost fuel economy in hybrid cars. These advantages will create a wider adoption of green technologies with affordable renewable energy for homes, vehicles, and businesses.

Currently, several large companies have shown interest in the new inverters. The companies are interested in how this will be a simpler, cheaper, and more efficient source. Izadian has several patents pending on his invention and is seeking research funding to complete the development of the analysis and controls needed for commercial viability. Products could be ready for the marketplace in as little as three years.


Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


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