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On a Road to Net Zero Emissions

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Ashok Bindra
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Today, sustainability is the buzz word and countries around the world are working together to address a common challenge, the climate change. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that any further increase of global temperatures would have adverse impact on human health, environment, agriculture, water availability, and multitude of other Earth related problems. Therefore, worldwide efforts are underway, including international protocols and agreements (e.g., The Paris Agreement of 2015), aiming to limit global warming by the end of the 21st century to well below +2°C, preferably to +1.5°C.

Towards that goal, renewables are gaining momentum, but majority of our energy sources today are still based on fossil-fuels, including our electricity needs that are gas- or oil-powered across transportation, heating, cooling, cooking and so many other industrial, commercial and consumer applications. As a result, according to Global Carbon Budget, CO2 emissions continue to rise every year, threatening our planet of global warming.

The consensus is that increased electrification is the most important way to address this issue. Consequently, the consumption of fossil-fuels can be cut drastically by expanding the adoption of renewable sources, which is unlimited. Accordingly, it can power all applications, ranging from transportation to consumer and industrial. Thus, enabling the goal of net-zero emissions attainable by 2050.

In the first cover feature article “Energy Efficiency is Not Enough!: Environmental Impacts as New Dimensions in Multi-Objective Optimization of Power Electronic Systems,” the authors Jonas Huber, Luc Imperiali, David Menzi, Franz Musil, and Johann W. Kolar emphasize the need for circular economy in power electronics to mitigate e-waste and drastically cut carbon emissions. Simply improving efficiency, density, and life cycle is not the answer. So, the authors propose Power Electronics 5.0, which will be driven by new key performance indicators characterizing the compatibility with the environment and a future circular economy, with AI-supported design methods and intelligent maintenance as key enablers.

The second cover feature “Wide Bandgap Power to Electrify Our World for a Sustainable Future” by Anthony Schiro and Stephen Oliver, shows that renewables, in combination with electrification of transportation, is critical to meeting net-zero CO2 goals. Based on IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2023, the article indicates that renewables and nuclear power will displace most fossil fuel use in the net-zero emissions scenario, with the share of fossil fuels plunging from almost 80% in 2021 to less than 20% in 2050.

Likewise, the third cover feature “Sustainability of Power Electronics and Batteries: A Circular Economy Approach” by Ariya Sangwongwanich, Daniel-Ioan Stroe, Chris Mi, and Frede Blaabjerg, discusses challenges and potential solutions to enhance the sustainability of power electronics and batteries through the concept of circular economy. The article addresses sustainability, both from the design and end-of-life management perspectives.

Since hands-on training is getting more attention in graduate schools, the next feature “Hands-On Learning: Design and Implementation of a Solar Array Simulator with a SYNDEM Smart Grid Research and Educational Kit” by Kevin Norman, Beibei Ren, and Qing-Chang Zhong presents a hands-on learning program that shows learning-by-doing can be achieved through the Kit which bridges the gap from theoretical design to experimental practice, using the design and implementation of a SAS as a practical demonstration. This approach allows researchers, educators, and students in power electronics and control to quickly gain practical experience.

In the fifth feature “Proposing a Duty Cycle Based Repetitive Drain Overvoltage Specification for GaN HEMTs,” Shengke Zhang, Angel E. Espinoza, Ricardo Garcia, Alejandro Pozo, and Robert Strittmatter propose a repetitive drain overvoltage specification that is validated by resistive load hard switching and unclamped inductive switching testing circuits. According to the authors, it demonstrates the extreme overvoltage robustness of GaN HEMTs.

Finally, the last feature “Alternative Way to Develop Small-Signal Models of Power Converters” by Liyu Cao presents an alternative process to develop small-signal models based on a well-established systematic method that has been used in control system analysis and design for a long period. It is the hope of this author that the power converter designers may become familiar with this alternative linearization and transfer function deriving method and start to use it in their design practice.

Columns, News, and Tenth Anniversary

In the column President’s Message, IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) President Brad Lehman is excited to disclose some groundbreaking developments that are shaping the trajectory of our community. According to his message, IEEE PELS is at the forefront of pioneering a transformative artificial intelligence (AI) initiative that promises to redefine the way we access and interact with the wealth of knowledge within our publications.

Likewise, in the PSMA Corner, Renee Yawger sheds light on the power technology roadmap (PTR) that aims to assist the power electronics industry understand and anticipate the evolution of power conversion technology. The Women in Engineering (WIE) column by Stephanie Watts Butler focuses on career development and skills needed to go from early career to senior leadership. Similarly, in the Industry Pulse, Kristen Parrish uncovers the phenomenal growth of electric micromobility, or e-mobility, in China, India, and Southeast Asia. As sustainability continues to be a focus for both individuals and regulatory groups across the world, electric scooters, e-bikes, and other single-rider solutions are playing an increasingly bigger role in Asia.

Furthermore, in the White Hot column “Not Your Grandpa’s Flyback,” Bob White investigates the popularity of Flyback converters in a wide range of applications. Plus, he addresses terminology issues associated with Flyback topology, and corrects the misnomers that have been used for decades.

Meanwhile, in the column “Students and Young Professionals Rendezvous,” the authors Joseph Kozak, Nayara Brand ao de Freitas, Bruna Seibel Gehrke, and Zhiheng Lin present the 2023 year-end report and 2024 preview. Besides the strong showing in events at other conferences, the S&YP committee was heavily involved in the continued growth of the Students and Young Professionals Symposium (SYPS), which is gaining the attention of PELS members and executives.

On a sad note, the In Memoriam column pays tribute to Prof. P. C. Sen for his pioneering work in power electronics and teaching the subject for over five decades at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The power electronics community will miss him as his legacy lives on.

Last, the Society News Section brings Chapter activities from around the world, as well as some highlights from the IEEE Energy Conversion Congress & Expo (ECCE) 2023, which was held in Nashville, TN, from 29 October to 2 November. While ECCE 2023 launched several exciting new initiatives last year, the opening keynote session was a historic all female event.

This year, the magazine celebrates its tenth anniversary. With a modest beginning in 2014, we have come a long way, overcoming many challenges including COVID-19, and gaining the support of our readers and advertisers over the years, delivering valuable articles, columns, and society news to readers around the world. Across the board, the number of advertisers supporting the magazine has also increased significantly. Thank you for supporting the PELS magazine for last ten years.

Our commitment is strong. We will continue to bring timely useful articles, columns and news of interest and value to practicing power electronics engineers worldwide. To serve you better and keep this magazine a valuable resource for working power electronics engineers around the world, we look forward to your feedback and suggestions. Now, we have a website (, which is in the process of redesign to offer more than what is in the print, and where you can easily provide your feedback. Stay safe and healthy.

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