Power Electronics

Data Points

International Rectifier Announces Technology Breakthrough

International Rectifier, El Segundo, Calif., has produced the first Active Integrated Rectifier Regulator (AIRR) for automotive alternators. The AIRR has been specifically designed to Delphi Corp.'s specifications for the alternator of the recently introduced DaimlerChrysler Maybach luxury vehicle (photo).

The AIRR can generate substantially higher power levels in a smaller outline than traditional passive rectifiers and alternator regulators. This technology breakthrough opens the path for future power electronics development for next-generation starter alternators.

The AIRR combines a voltage regulator, which controls the output voltage of the alternator, with an active rectifier in one and the same module. The rectifier converts the alternating current generated by the alternator into the direct current required by the car electrical loads and battery. In short, active rectification is the replacement of passive diodes with active FETs to dramatically reduce power losses and increase fuel economy.

Bringing the AIRR to production is a milestone in the technology roadmap for automotive electrical power generation. The performance of active rectifiers with state-of-the-art power MOSFETs can improve the output power of today's standard alternators by up to 25% at idle speed, where most generation systems are underpowered. As the automotive electrical power requirements continue to increase from hundreds of watts today to several kilowatts in the near future, alternator technology itself will change, moving to belt-driven or crankshaft-mounted starter alternators. The new power generation architecture will require a new set of expertise for implementation of the power electronics subsystem.

To learn more about International Rectifier, visit www.irf.com.

Ansoft and Maxwell Release Supercapacitor Model Library

Ansoft Corp. and Maxwell Technologies Inc. have released a model library containing Maxwell Technologies' ultracapacitor products for use within Ansoft's SIMPLORER®.

Ultracapacitors are ultrahigh capacity energy-storage devices that deliver bursts of high power and recharge rapidly. The technology is an excellent supplement to batteries and fuel cells, especially for short-term energy storage and pulses of power. Used to produce cleaner and more fuel-efficient hybrid-electric/internal-combustion buses, trucks, and automobiles, ultracapacitor technology is ideal for powering initial acceleration, operating electrical subsystems, and regenerative braking.

You can download the ultracapacitor library from SIMPLORER's model database on the Web at http://model.simplorer.com. You can search for a capacitor by name, performance data, or other specification, and integrate the component in its local model library. The download also includes the datasheet of the component.

For more information, visit Ansoft's Web site at www.ansoft.com or contact Maxwell Technologies at www.maxwell.com.

ABB Donates Motor Drive to Texas A&M

Officials from ABB (Norwalk, Conn.), Texas A&M's Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, and the Global Petroleum Research Institute recently marked the advances being made at the university's Multiphase Field Lab with a ceremony that included the donation of a 350-hp ABB DriveIT variable frequency drive (VFD) (photo).

The VFD will be used to power and control all the multiphase pumps at Texas A&M's Riverside Test Facility and, along with newly installed pumps, represents the latest technology to be put into use in oil and gas fields around the world.

In the past five years, more oil companies have installed multiphase pumps. Texas A&M is the only university in the nation to have two of the twin-screw type of pumps available for research and teaching. ABB's donation — valued at about $65,000 — included the ACS 600 DriveIT low-voltage ac drive and engineering services for installation, commissioning, and start up of the motor controller.

For more information, visit the Web at www.abb.com.

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