Power Electronics & Energy Conversion
The Power Electronics and Energy Conversion research priority is delivered by the Power Electronics Research Centre (PERC)
which has four research themes associated with it:
- Power Quality and Power Factor Correction
- Magnetic Sensors
- Energy Management Systems for Renewable Energy
Current research activities in Magnetics include wearable electromagnetic generator design for low power portable application and magnetic component design for high current, low voltage applications.
Power Quality and Power Factor Correction
The mains current in an AC/DC converter contains periodic current pulses that cause harmonic distortion of the supply current and low power factor. Introducing active power factor correction in the form of a boost pre-regulator can reduce the level of harmonics. Passive, power factor correction in the form of an input filter inductor is less expensive but the component is bulky. This research activity investigates the use of variable inductance in a novel inductor construction with a sloped air-gap (SAG).
Magnetic Sensors, especially for proximity, speed sensing etc. based on magnetic field detection principles, because of their ability to provide a non-contact means of sensing. Recent developments in technologies have provided magneto-resistive (AMR, GMR) and fluxgate based sensors as alternatives to those based on the Hall-effect. Applications of the sensors include biomedical inductively coupled sensors.
The objective of the Energy Management Systems for Renewable Energy research activity is the design of Battery Management Systems for renewable energy applications. The management strategies aim to prolong the life of the battery and for example implement maximum power point tracking in solar energy conversion.