A milestone achievement in power electronics, Rainer Marquardt pioneered the modular multilevel converter (MMC) concept, which has revolutionized the capabilities of power conversion technology. It has changed high-voltage DC (HVDC) conversion, which is important for future applications including electronically controlled transmission networks for long distances. MMC has become the most common type of voltage-source-controlled HVDC due to its scalability from the megawatt up to the gigawatt range, transformer-less operation, high efficiency, high reliability, and fault tolerance. Developed by Marquardt in 2002, the MMC has become important for medium-voltage drives, wind power and other applications, and regenerative energy sources. First, his MMC technology was successfully applied in the Trans Bay HVDC underwater cable connecting San Francisco, CA to Pittsburg, CA. As a worldwide standard, MMC topology has extended the application field and the capabilities of power electronics significantly.
Marquardt is a professor with the University of Bundeswehr, Munich, Germany.
An international leader in power electronics technologies, Seung-Ki Sul’s innovations concerning sensorless control techniques are improving the reliability and reducing the cost of motor drive systems critical to a wide range of applications. Sul developed a sinusoidal pulsating injection method for sensorless control to realize high-performance alternating-current motor control without using a position or speed sensor even at low speeds. Sul’s methods have been commercialized and applied to motion and traction control in elevators to enable smooth starting, oil pump drives in automobiles that reduce cost and improve vehicle reliability, sensorless traction motors in electric and hybrid vehicles, and even washing machines. His recently developed sensorless drive featuring pulsating square wave voltage has important implications for traction control in humanoid robots.
An IEEE Fellow, Sul is a professor with Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
A visionary leader in the field of power electronics, Johann W. Kolar has a distinguished record of providing industry with key innovations for ensuring high power quality and saving energy. He has driven advances in three-phase pulse-width modulation rectifier and matrix converter technology, including the Vienna Rectifier and the Sparse Matrix Converter, over the past two decades. Offering outstanding performance concerning efficiency, power density, harmonic distortions, and costs, the Vienna Rectifier is widely employed for power supply of data centers and industry processes, as well as actuators of electric aircraft. Furthermore, Kolar has spearheaded the introduction of multi-objective optimization as a fundamentally new research approach into power electronics and has proposed a revolutionary new approach for education in power electronics that is used today in academia and industry all over the world.
An IEEE Fellow, Kolar is a full professor and chair of the Power Electronic Systems Laboratory at ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
The impactful power electronics innovations of Shu Yuen Ron Hui focus on providing sustainability, saving energy, and reducing electronic waste. Prof. Hui pioneered planar wireless charging technology, providing free-positioning and localized charging for multiple devices through a wireless charging pad. His patented work is featured in the first global wireless charging standard for low-power electronics introduced in 2010. This unifying standard will help to reduce hundreds of millions of units of electronic waste per year considering the plethora of noncompatible charging devices produced in the past. Prof. Hui’s groundbreaking work in lighting control includes passive LED drivers for street lighting that feature materials that are 85% recyclable, an energy efficiency of 94%, and a designed lifetime exceeding ten years.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Hui is the Chair Professor of Power Electronics with the University of Hong Kong and Imperial College London, UK.
Frede Blaabjerg’s innovations in applying power electronics for the control and conversion of electric power have increased energy efficiency and provided more reliable connection of renewable energy sources to the power grid. His power converters for wind turbine systems have helped overcome scaling challenges. He also developed module and string inverters for solar photovoltaics that have found industry use. Prof. Blaabjerg’s grid-interfacing techniques include synchronization, smart monitoring, and design and control of filters for improving the quality of power being fed to the grid. His innovations involving adjustable speed drives include techniques for reducing noise in heating and cooling systems and lowering the cost of industrial drives by reducing the sensors needed while still maintaining failure protection.
An IEEE Fellow, Prof. Blaabjerg is a professor with the Department of Energy Technology at Aalborg University, Denmark.
With more than 40 patents, Rik W. De Doncker’s power electronics innovations for energy-efficient conversion and drive technologies have impacted applications ranging from electric vehicles to advancing development of the electronically controlled power grid. He developed the dual active bridge electronic DC-to-DC transformer in 1988, which was critical to energy supply systems for the NASA space station. His auxiliary resonant commutated pole converter developed in 1990 had important implications for efficient high-power converters. Developed in 1994, his converter controller for low-voltage batteries in electric cars extends vehicle range and has been incorporated by several car manufacturers. He co-developed the first medium-voltage static transfer switch, which has been deployed in the United States to prevent power grid sags.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. De Doncker is a professor and head of the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives and director of the E. ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University, Germany.
Leo Lorenz has developed some of the most important innovations in power electronics, spearheading the movement from conventional power conversion technology to high-frequency and high-power methods. Working with Siemens Semiconductor in Munich, Germany, Dr. Lorenz developed the first ultrafast switching multidie direct copper bonded-based power metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) module in 1986, which serves as the foundation of today’s power module technology. He also pioneered the product definition and concept engineering of the first ultrathin wafer non-punch-through (NPT) insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) in 1987. His role in educating industry on device performance, thermal management, high-temperature operation, and reliability issues was crucial to the successful adoption of the technology. He also developed the “sandwich technology” (the basis for controlled integrated power systems) for advanced integrated power modules, which is an important component in home appliances and automotive applications. He also introduced the CoolMOS power semiconductor, used primarily for offline power supplies, which some engineers consider as one of the greatest achievements in the power semiconductor industry in the past 20 years.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Lorenz is currently a professor at TU-Ilmenau and president of the European Center for Power Electronics. Till 2011 he was a senior principal with Infineon Technologies, Neubiberg, Germany.
Praveen Jain’s advancements of power conversion methods have improved the use of power electronics for practical real-life applications, including the space, telecommunications, and computer industries. During the late 1980s, Dr. Jain developed a new class of single-stage ac-to-dc converters for high-frequency distribution systems that provided reduced mass and volume as well as conservation of stored energy on a spacecraft. During the 1990s, Dr. Jain was one of the first to propose using asymmetrical pulse width modulation control for constant frequency operation of resonant converters. This revolutionized the design of highly reliable, high-density power supplies for the telecommunications industry. He also developed a digital transient controller for ultra-high-speed computer processors to supply nearly glitch-free voltage to the processor without using energy storage capacitors.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Jain is professor, Canada Research Chair and director with the Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER) at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont., Canada.
Akio Nakagawa’s development of the non-latch-up insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), which switches power at high speed, created an indispensable power device now used in applications ranging from air conditioners to hybrid vehicles. Before Dr. Nakagawa’s pioneering work in 1984, IGBTs of that time were prone to failure or even destruction due to latch-up (a type of short circuit) caused by the parasitic thyristor of the IGBT. His invented design principles completely suppressed the latch-up even under high-voltage and large-current operating conditions. The ability to withstand the “load-short-circuit” condition for more than 20 µs exceeded the capability of existing bipolar transistors. This set the global standard for IGBT design and enabled its successful commercialization.
An IEEE Senior Member, Dr. Nakagawa is currently Technical Consultant of Nakagawa Consulting Office. He previously served as Chief Fellow of Toshiba Corporation Semiconductor Company, Tokyo, Japan from 2005 to 2009.
One of the most significant contributions that Tadashi Fukao has made in the power industry is on “Super High Speed Electric Drives and Bearingless Drives.” The impact of Tadashi Fukao’s work on high-speed drives can be seen in today’s acceptance of high rotational speed drives used in hybrid vehicles, mobile power generators, and vacuum cleaners. He studied high-frequency cycloconverters, which convert 50-Hz commercial energy into 400- or 500-Hz electrical power, and proposed generator and distribution systems with reduced physical dimensions. Dr. Fukao researched bearingless motors to overcome the problems that occur when motors with bearings operate at super high speeds. Bearingless motors allow alternating current motor drives to be used in space applications, harsh environments, food and pharmacy processes, and very high- and low-atmosphere environments where bearing maintenance and use of lubrication oil would present problems.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Fukao is currently an independent consultant to the Tokyo University of Science and professor emeritus at Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Since 1998, Dushan Boroyevich together with Prof. Fred Lee has led the team of over 20 professors and over 200 students from Virginia Tech, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, and North Carolina A&T State University in the US National Science Foundation-sponsored Engineering Research Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES).
Working in partnership with more than 80 companies, CPES has become the most renowned power electronics research and education center in the world. In addition to its alumni, the most enduring legacy of CPES is the paradigm shift in power electronics research towards higher levels of integration and modularization. Dr. Boroyevich also developed a comprehensive geometric approach to modeling and control of high-frequency switching power converters, which has become a major tool in the analysis, design, and control of emerging power-electronics-based electrical distribution systems in cars, ships, aircraft, and data communication centers.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Boroyevich is now the American Electric Power Professor in The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech and co-director of CPES.
Dr. Deepakraj M. Divan is known for his seminal work in soft switching power conversion and the ability to take from the laboratory to the marketplace new technologies that protect equipment against power disturbances.
In 1995, while chairman and chief executive officer of Soft Switching Technologies in Middleton, Wisconsin, Dr. Divan created a switching technology that led to a new breed of power quality products – an electronic, uninterruptible power supply for industrial plants. The Dynamic Sag Corrector addressed the issue responsible for “blips” or voltage sags that last less than two seconds and are responsible for 96% of all power problems.
Today, more than 2,000 such systems are installed in the semiconductor, automotive and food processing industries to protect sensitive industrial automation equipment.
In addition, he developed the only public-domain power monitoring network in the United States. Called I-Grid, this Internet-based system monitors power quality at industrial and utility facilities nationwide. With more than a thousand monitors connected to the Internet, I-Grid provides a detailed, objective and time-stamped analysis of the entire power grid never before available. I-Grid data allows utilities to demonstrate the occurrence of widespread power quality events – even if the source is hundreds of miles away. I-Grid data also helps manufacturers diagnose unsolved downtime events.
Dr. Divan is currently a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the founder of Georgia Tech’s Intelligent Power Infrastructure Consortium, where he is responsible for a research and teaching program focused on integrating power electronics, power systems and controls technology to create a smart grid. He is also Chairman and Co-Founder of Innovolt Inc., a Georgia Tech Venture Labs company that has developed the next generation of surge protection product. Current-in rush voltage surge suppressor, or CVSS, protects electronics equipment from both voltage surges and current surges that accompany voltage sags.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Divan has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Industry Applications Society and is the recipient of the IEEE Power Electronics Specialists Conference Best Prize Paper Award and the IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications Best Paper Award.
He has a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, and masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Calgary in Canada, both in electrical engineering.