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High Performance Power Electronics with Applications in Electric Aircraft, Space Exploration and Renewable Energy

Samantha Coday, PhD Candidate, University of California, Berkeley

Mar 1, 2023

Advancements in power electronics are vital for ushering in the next generation of electrification. From electric aircrafts and cars to increased integration of renewable energy on the grid, power electronics is a key bottleneck to achieving a more electric future. Hybrid switched-capacitor converters offer opportunity for advancements in high-performance power electronics by leveraging energy-dense capacitors as the primary storage element. This work describes the benefits and challenges of implementing this class of power electronics. Two examples are presented which showcase the performance of hybrid switched-capacitor converters in medium-voltage applications. First, a converter designed for hybrid electric aircrafts is described which achieves high performance and passes low altitude flight qualification, showcasing the potential reliability of these converters. Next, a converter is presented which is designed for operation in extreme space environments where radiation effects make high conversion ratios and high voltages challenging. Finally, next generation power electronics are discussed, focusing on the impact of new devices, topology advancements and the role high-performance power electronics can have on achieving a more electric future.

Speaker Bio

Samantha Coday is a PhD candidate at University of California, Berkeley, advised by Dr. Robert Pilawa. Samantha received her Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, in 2017, from Southern Methodist University. She then completed her Masters in 2019, at University of California, Berkeley. Her current research interests are in the design of light-weight multilevel switched-capacitor power converters with applications in aerospace. Samantha has been selected as a 2021 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Rising Star, a Cadence Women in Technology Scholarship winner, and an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor.

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