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Environmental Compatibility –A New Key Performance Indicator of Multi-Objective Power Electronics Design

Date: 27/06/2024
Time: 10:00 am
Presenter: Jonas Huber & Johann W. Kolar
Abstract: Transitioning to a Net-Zero-CO2, all-electric system necessitates a significant expansion of electric grid infrastructure and widespread adoption of power electronic converters and energy storage systems. Given the typical 20-year lifespan of these converters, many installed today will require replacement by 2050, aligning with the global Net-Zero-CO2 target. This timing poses substantial challenges, including potential depletion of critical raw materials and significant environmental waste generation. The presentation will address these issues by introducing specific metrics for assessing the environmental impact of power electronic converters. It will explore the principles of Life Cycle Analysis and the shift from a Linear to a Circular Economy, which aims for sustainability by minimizing environmental impacts. The discussion will highlight how the design of power electronic converters, such as those used in EV chargers and PV inverters, can be optimized for enhanced reparability, reusability, and recyclability. These designs will reduce the dependency on critical materials and toxic substances, thereby curbing waste. Lastly, the presentation will outline a roadmap for incorporating environmental considerations into the power electronics design process. This approach ensures that power electronics, essential for achieving a Net-Zero-CO2 society, are fully compatible with a Circular Economy as early as possible, facilitating a sustainable technological evolution.
kolar and huber2
Johann W. Kolar is a Full Professor and the Head of the Power Electronic Systems Laboratory at ETH Zurich, a Fellow of the IEEE, and an international member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He has proposed numerous novel converter topologies and related control concepts, incl. the Vienna Rectifier and the Sparse Matrix Converter, has spearheaded the development of x-million rpm motors, and has pioneered fully automated multi-objective power electronics design procedures. The focus of his current research is on ultra-compact/efficient WBG converter systems, ANN-based design procedures, Solid-State Transformers, ultra-high speed drives, bearingless actuators, and life cycle analyses of power electronics converter systems.

Jonas E. Huber received the MSc (with distinction) degree and the PhD degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland, in 2012 and 2016, respectively. Since 2012, he has been with the Power Electronic Systems Laboratory, ETH Zurich, focusing his research interests on the field of solid-​state transformers, specifically on the analysis, optimization, and design of high-​power multi-​cell converter systems, reliability considerations, control strategies, and applicability aspects. In 2017, he joined ABB Switzerland Ltd. as a Power Electronics Development Engineer working on high-​power DC-​DC converter systems for traction applications. After gaining some management experience with a Swiss utility company for a year, he then returned to the Power Electronic Systems Laboratory as a Senior Researcher in fall 2020.