Power Electronics

Speakers Needed for PowerSystems 2001

An important part of the PowerSystems World 2001 conference is choosing a keynote speaker when the technical sessions start on September 11. Last year, the keynote speakers covered the powering of telecommunications systems. The year before automotive power was the main subject.

There is always some difficulty in selecting a subject that will attract members of the power electronics community. The problems of electrical energy in California and other Western states have focused on finding solutions that involve power electronics and power quality. Therefore, this year's keynote session will combine attendees who subscribe to PCIM Power Electronic Systems and our sister publication Power Quality Assurance. Speakers should address the use of power electronics solutions as well as power quality solutions.

Our present plans call for three speakers. The first speaker would articulate the overall electrical energy situation in the U.S., currently and for the future, followed by a presentation of power electronics providing electrical energy solutions. The final speaker would then describe the needs to maintain the appropriate power quality for electrical systems.

The overall energy problems in the U.S. are twofold. First, the U.S. must develop more electrical generating systems, particularly those that do not use fossil fuels. Second, the world does not have an inexhaustible supply of oil and gas, so electrical energy should be the energy source for the distant future.

There are two ways to employ power electronics. One is to use power electronics to aid the generation of electricity. A second way is to use it to make electronic loads more energy efficient. For example, if solar energy is the prime source of electricity then more efficient solar panels and inverters must be used to convert the generated dc to ac. On the load side of the equation, power supplies for electrical systems need to be more efficient. So will motor drives and electronic lighting systems.

Power supplies with improved efficiency may require the use of new topologies, and improved power semiconductors, capacitors, transformers and inductors. More efficient motor drives will also require improved semiconductors, particularly at high power levels. Electronic lighting systems will require improved ICs and power semiconductors as well as the light source.

High efficiency can't be achieved by degrading the power quality of the electrical system. Therefore, power factor correction will be a necessity. The susceptibility of electrical systems to power transients must also be mitigated.

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) will be required to back up the electronic loads in case of a power failure. These power electronic systems may require new topologies as well as new components, particularly batteries with a long shelf life that are easily recharged.

Future electric vehicles will also need batteries that provide improved power-to-weight ratios than those presently available. Another possibility is the use of fuel cells that are efficient, low-cost, safe, and easily rechargeable.

If there are any volunteers for these presentations, please contact me at [email protected].

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