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Amirabadi and Lehman Awarded $660K from ARPA-E and MassCEC for Transformational Energy Technology

January 10, 2018

ECE Assistant Professor Mahshid Amirabadi and ECE Professor Brad Lehman were awarded $628K in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and $33K from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The funding will be used to develop a new class of universal power converters for DC, Single-phase AC, and Multi-phase AC Systems.

Amirabadi and Lehman received this competitive award from ARPA-E’s Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuits Using Inventive Topologies and Semiconductors (CIRCUITS) program, which seeks to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative, high power, high performance electric power converters. CIRCUITS projects leverage a new class of efficient, lightweight, and reliable power converters based on wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor technology, using materials like silicon carbide or gallium nitride instead of the silicon that is dominant today.

Northeastern University team will develop a new class of universal power converters that use the unique properties of wide-bandgap SiC switches to significantly reduce system weight, volume, cost, power loss, and failure rates. If successful, the proposed converter and its innovative control strategy has the potential to create a new paradigm in power electronics that could influence numerous applications, such as electric vehicles, wind energy systems, photovoltaic systems, industrial motor drives, residential variable frequency drive systems, and nanogrid applications.