ECE Team Honored for Groundbreaking Transformer Design

Photo graphic that includes headshots of the seven-member research team.

Photo graphic that includes headshots of the seven-member research team.

The IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics (TPEL) First Place Prize Paper Award has been awarded to a team of researchers in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) led by Professor Deepakraj M. Divan. TPEL is renowned for its influence in the power electronics field.

In addition to Divan, the researchers include:

  • Lukas Graber - Associate Professor
  • Maryam Saeedifard – Professor
  • Rajendra Prasad Kandula – Staff Research Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (was Chief Engineer at Tech's Center for Distributed Energy)
  • Xiangyu Han - Senior Electrical Design Engineer at Tesla (ECE Ph.D. '20)
  • Chunmeng Xu - Research Scientist at ABB Raleigh Research Center (ECE Ph.D. '21)
  • Liran Zheng - Senior Electrical Design Engineer at Tesla (ECE Ph.D. '22)

The team's prize-winning paper titled, "7.2 kV Three-Port SiC Single-Stage Current-Source Solid-State Transformer With 90 kV Lightning Protection," proposes a new type of power transformer called a multiport modular single-stage current-source solid-state transformer (SST).

Unlike traditional transformers, it operates at high voltage (up to 7.5 kV) and performs direct AC to DC or AC to AC conversion in just one stage. The design includes a buffer port for improved power management and energy storage integration. Innovative insulation and lightning protection measures ensure safety and reliability, while a soft-switching technique reduces electromagnetic interference.

These advanced transformers address the increasing prevalence of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles in power grids, offering enhanced flexibility and control over electricity flow compared to traditional transformers.

The Prize Paper Award distinction is a high honor and a tribute to the fine research quality, presentation, and potential impact that the research has to the field, according to TPEL. The publication’s rigorous selection process requires multiple review levels and votes. Each year, up to five first-place prize papers and ten second-place prize papers are deemed best among those published in the preceding calendar year. In 2022, 1,292 regular papers, letters, and correspondence were published from 3,186 original submissions.

The team will be honored at the TPEL Editorial Board Meeting during the 2023 IEEE Energy Conversion Conference and Expo in Nashville, Tennessee on November 1.

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Dan Watson