USU Team Goes to the Final Round of the IFEC Competition
“IFEC is an international student competition for innovation, conservation, and effective use of electrical energy, which is open to college and university student teams from recognized undergraduate engineering programs in any location.
The competition is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power Electronics Society (PELS), Power & Energy Society (PES), Industry Application Society (IAS) and Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA).”
Through the first round, only 17 teams were invited to APEC 2019 to participate in the second round of the competition and present their progress. Out of the 17 teams, 10 teams were qualified for the final round in Madison Wisconsin at the end of July. Among the qualified teams are Utah State, Virginia Tech, and Drexel University from the US.
The chosen topology for the converter is a standard 3 phase bridge (Inverter). Given the specifications in the competition, a front-end converter was deemed unnecessary. The selection for the power switches in the inverter was a trade-off for performance, power density, and cost. GaN FETs were selected due to their incredible low on-resistance and switching times. The eGaN packages are also miniaturized to aid in the heat transfer from package to heat sink. The full prototype was designed using 6 layer 90 X 45 mm board that has the three phase bridge and all necessary drives, auxiliary supply circuits, and a controller circuit.
The goal of the enclosure design (Heat Sink) was to find the optimized shape to balance surface area with volume while still maintaining the entire case below 62 °C with surface area being no more than 48 °C.