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SwiSS-Transformer

For the future electricity supply, an interdisciplinary research team is developing a dynamic transformer.

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Technologies

Transformers, silicon carbide, semiconductors, turnaround in energy policy

Objectives

 Technology development for a novel, silicon-carbide (SiC) based solid-state transformer (SST) and the assessment of its application in the Swiss electric grid

Starting situation

In the future, large quantities of energy from widely fluctuating sources - e.g. wind and solar power plants - will be fed into the electricity network. This leads to a high need for so-called power electronics transformers. Unlike conventional transformers, which primarily consist of iron and copper, the new transformers will dynamically regulate electrical parameters such as voltage, reactive power or frequency.

Result

The innovative technology is based on a new semiconductor material: the switching elements crucial for the transformer to function will be made of silicon carbide (SiC). Compared to silicon known from microelectronics, SiC allows far more compact and energy-efficient systems. The technologies for producing SiC construction elements are being developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the ABB research centre. At the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), switching and modulation concepts are being developed in parallel, and a functional demonstrator system is being created.

 

Project information

Client

Nationales Forschungsprogramm "Energiewende"

Execution

FHNW Institute of Aerosol and Sensor Technology

Partner

ABB-Forschungszentrum, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), ETH Zürich

Duration

4 Jahre

Funding

Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

Project-Management

Prof. Dr. Nicola Schulz

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