President's Message: June 2019

From a New Open Access Journal to PELS Day, Society Activities Continue to Grow

Frede Blaabjergby Frede Blaabjerg

I have just returned from the 2019 Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC) in Anaheim, California., which is one of the largest conferences (more than 6000 attendees) in power electronics and includes a very large exhibition. It was quite amazing to see how fast wide bandgap (WBG) power devices have entered the mainstream, and how the adoption of these devices has accelerated. In particular, some of the demonstrations in automotive designs were quite remarkable. This indicates that the initiative on generating a detailed roadmap of WBG power devices, which the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) started, was a wise strategy to implement. The International Technology Roadmap for Wide Bandgap Power Semiconductors (ITRW) will be presented officially at the IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE) in Baltimore, Maryland, 29 September to 3 October 2019. The ITRW roadmap will be presented at a special event at ECCE. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the companies who have supported this initiative.

APEC 2019 was also the place where it was confirmed that a couple of new interesting initiatives would be launched, which suggests that PELS is a robust and agile organization that is working hard to serve its members. The first is that, by 1 January 2020, we will launch a new golden open access journal called IEEE Open Journal of Power Electronics, where papers will be accessible to all free of charge. However, the authors must pay a fee to cover the expenses for the production of their paper and online publishing. There is a strong push toward open access across the globe, especially in Europe, and as a professional organization, we have responded to that. Concurrently, we will also offer the opportunity to authors to pay for fully open access to all our hybrid journals. It will take three years to receive an impact factor for the new journal, which I expect to be rather high because papers will be accessible to all. We are now forming  an editorial team to establish the journal, and we hope to see many contributions from all of you. The journal will be open for submissions around 1 September 2019.

Another interesting initiative is the IEEE PELS Prize Ph.D. Thesis Talk, or P3Talk, which our digital media committee initiated. The idea is to encourage recently graduated Ph.D. students to make a video of up to 200 s on their Ph.D. projects showcasing their research achievements in academics and industrial fields. This will enable them to promote their projects in an inspiring way. We will make these videos available on PELS websites so that others can learn about the power electronics technology. In addition, we will also run a global competition to award the best five videos every year. The awardees will be invited to attend the annual IEEE ECCE. The P3Talk prize includes a cash award of US$500, a certificate, and up to US$1000 for travel to and lodging at the ECCE conference in the United States.

An important advantage of being a member of PELS and attending conferences is learning the latest research results and technology advances while participating in professional networking for career development. To that end, PELS will sponsor many technical conferences in the next few months. Our largest conferences after APEC and ECCE Asia (the International Conference on Power Electronics 2019) are the ECCE Europe (Electronic Power Engineering 2019) conference to be held in Genova, Italy, from 2 - 5 September and ECCE 2019 to be held in Baltimore, Maryland, 29 September to 3 October. More than 1000 participants are expected at both conferences, and hundreds of paper presentations will be included. I cordially invite all of you to attend these events, which attract top-specialists, to learn about the latest results in your  fields of interest, and both the meeting places are attractive locations to visit. In addition, the grand winners of the IEEE Empower a Billion Lives global competition will be presented at ECCE 2019 in Baltimore.

One exciting piece of news that I would like to share is that, for the first time, the Society has been awarded the Silicon Controlled Rectifier/Thyristor technology milestone by the IEEE, which was invented more than 60 years ago in the United States. It has been a long process to obtain this IEEE milestone, and it is a landmark in the modern power electronics history. This was marked by a specially dedicated ceremony in Clyde, New York, on 14 June 2019, where the president of the IEEE was present to honor this achievement. Thanks to Prof. Ger Hurley of the University of Galway, Ireland, whose hard work made this possible. After the dedication ceremony, a short video will be available for all members on the PELS website.

On 20 June 20, PELS celebrated its birthday. This was the day that the IEEE decided to form the PELS Society, Prof. John Kassakian of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, who was the initiator, was its first president. Based on a proposal from one of our active members, we have decided to celebrate the day as an annual PELS day. The idea is to initiate a number of activities both at the Society and Chapters levels around the world. We encourage Chapter members to initiate activities such as seminars, discussions, and visits, and we hope many activities will happen simultaneously across the globe. Going forward, we would like your feedback on how to improve such events for the future.


One of the honors for a Society president is to approve new local Chapters. Over the last few months, I have approved more than five newly established Chapters. These are good geographical units for organizing meetings, conferences, and seminars as well as technical tours. Plus, they offer lectures through our Distinguished Lecturers Program for which the PELS supports the lecturers’ travel. What’s more, Chapters are good platforms for showcasing our advances  to nonmembers and encouraging many of them to join the Society. So please consider establishing such Chapters if they do not exist in your Region. If you need guidance on doing so, please contact us, and we will help you.