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The Main Challenges in Power Electronics Design

In modern world, power electronics is a promising industry that is driven by environmental concerns, creation of devices and software solutions with new functionalities. Thus, the demand for new power electronics solutions and products is getting greater.

Almost every device and system has power electronics elements, be it a mobile phone or a complex industrial robot. In so doing, the quality of a product depends on the quality of its power electronics elements. One of the most vital things in power electronics design is high quality and safety.

Let’s explore three major challenges that you can face when building your power electronics design.

  • Harmonics

 In simple words, harmonics is an issue caused by nonlinear loads which convert AC line voltage to DC line voltage. This leads to the power systems malfunction, undesirable current, overheating, misfiring. So, harmonics can affect your power electronics design.

Ideally, harmonic content shouldn’t be higher than 5%. There are different ways to reduce harmonics: for example, you can use tuned harmonic filters, active harmonic filters, neutral blocking filters, phase shifting.

You can also avoid using devices that can cause harmonics in your power electronics design:

  • arc-discharge devices;
  • solid-state switches;
  • high-voltage DC transmission stations;
  • photovoltaic inverters;
  • switched-mode power supplies;
  • magnetic cores;
  • resistance welders.

Each of these devices separately doesn’t cause great harmonics, however, if you use many of them at once, you should check your power electronics design carefully to avoid harmonics issues.

  • Thermal Management

 This is another vital aspect in building power electronics design. The main goal of thermal management is minimizing the heat produced by an electronic device and, as a result, avoiding overheating and exploding of the power system.

Thermal management includes special methods for monitoring and managing temperatures produced by power electronics elements:

  • cooling methods;
  • module power dissipation;
  • ambient temperature;

Modern electronics products perform wide range of functions, equipped with various modules, sensors, and so son, and have compact sizes. All of this requires power electronics designs with advanced thermal management.

  • Electromagnetic interference (EMI)

This is one more unwanted issue in power electronics design. It can be caused by an external source and this is a result of close connection between electricity and magnetism.

EMI leads to disfunctions in electronics products operating and can damage devices functionality completely.

To reduce EMI, you can take different precautions, for example:

  • good grounding;
  • shielding techniques;
  • the methods of inductive coupling and twisted pairs;
  • filtering unwanted signals out.

In the modern world, where a great number of devices communicate with each other, the problem of EMI is of extreme importance and influence the quality of power electronics design directly. To learn more about power electronics and topics like battery energy storage systems (BESS), visit Integra Sources’ blog.

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