skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Power Electronics Thermal Management Research: Annual Progress Report

Abstract

The objective for this project is to develop thermal management strategies to enable efficient and high-temperature wide-bandgap (WBG)-based power electronic systems (e.g., emerging inverter and DC-DC converter). Reliable WBG devices are capable of operating at elevated temperatures (≥ 175 °Celsius). However, packaging WBG devices within an automotive inverter and operating them at higher junction temperatures will expose other system components (e.g., capacitors and electrical boards) to temperatures that may exceed their safe operating limits. This creates challenges for thermal management and reliability. In this project, system-level thermal analyses are conducted to determine the effect of elevated device temperatures on inverter components. Thermal modeling work is then conducted to evaluate various thermal management strategies that will enable the use of highly efficient WBG devices with automotive power electronic systems.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies Office (EE-3V)
OSTI Identifier:
1404874
Report Number(s):
NREL/MP-5400-67112
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; thermal management; power electronics; automotive; wide bandgap; thermal analysis

Citation Formats

Moreno, Gilberto. Power Electronics Thermal Management Research: Annual Progress Report. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1404874.
Moreno, Gilberto. Power Electronics Thermal Management Research: Annual Progress Report. United States. doi:10.2172/1404874.
Moreno, Gilberto. 2017. "Power Electronics Thermal Management Research: Annual Progress Report". United States. doi:10.2172/1404874. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1404874.
@article{osti_1404874,
title = {Power Electronics Thermal Management Research: Annual Progress Report},
author = {Moreno, Gilberto},
abstractNote = {The objective for this project is to develop thermal management strategies to enable efficient and high-temperature wide-bandgap (WBG)-based power electronic systems (e.g., emerging inverter and DC-DC converter). Reliable WBG devices are capable of operating at elevated temperatures (≥ 175 °Celsius). However, packaging WBG devices within an automotive inverter and operating them at higher junction temperatures will expose other system components (e.g., capacitors and electrical boards) to temperatures that may exceed their safe operating limits. This creates challenges for thermal management and reliability. In this project, system-level thermal analyses are conducted to determine the effect of elevated device temperatures on inverter components. Thermal modeling work is then conducted to evaluate various thermal management strategies that will enable the use of highly efficient WBG devices with automotive power electronic systems.},
doi = {10.2172/1404874},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month =
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • The objective for this project is to develop thermal management strategies to enable efficient and high-temperature wide-bandgap (WBG)-based power electronic systems (e.g., emerging inverter and DC-DC converter). Device- and system-level thermal analyses are conducted to determine the thermal limitations of current automotive power modules under elevated device temperature conditions. Additionally, novel cooling concepts and material selection will be evaluated to enable high-temperature silicon and WBG devices in power electronics components. WBG devices (silicon carbide [SiC], gallium nitride [GaN]) promise to increase efficiency, but will be driven as hard as possible. This creates challenges for thermal management and reliability.
  • Power electronics that use high-temperature devices pose a challenge for thermal management. With the devices running at higher temperatures and having a smaller footprint, the heat fluxes increase from previous power electronic designs. This project overview presents an approach to examine and design thermal management strategies through cooling technologies to keep devices within temperature limits, dissipate the heat generated by the devices and protect electrical interconnects and other components for inverter, converter, and charger applications. This analysis, validation, and demonstration intends to take a multi-scale approach over the device, module, and system levels to reduce size, weight, and cost.
  • Past work in the area of active convective cooling provided data on the average convective heat transfer coefficients of circular orifice automatic transmission fluid (ATF) jets impinging on stationary targets intended to represent the wire bundle surface of the motor end-winding. Work during FY16 focused on the impact of alternative jet geometries that could lead to improved cooling over a larger surface of the motor winding. Results show that the planar jet heat transfer coefficients over a small (12.7-mm-diameter) target surface are not too much lower than for the circular orifice jet in which all of the ATF from themore » jet impinges on the target surface. The planar jet has the potential to achieve higher heat transfer over a larger area of the motor end winding. A new test apparatus was constructed to measure the spatial dependence of the heat transfer relative to the jet nozzle over a larger area representative of a motor end-winding. The tested planar flow geometry has the potential to provide more uniform cooling over the full end-winding surface versus the conventional jet configuration. The data will be used by motor designers to develop thermal management strategies to improve motor power density. Work on passive thermal design in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to measure the thermal conductivity of wire bundle samples representative of end-winding and slot-winding materials was completed. Multiple measurement techniques were compared to determine which was most suitable for measuring composite wire bundle samples. NREL used a steady-state thermal resistance technique to measure the direction-dependent thermal conductivity. The work supported new interactions with industry to test new materials and reduce passive-stack thermal resistance in motors, leading to motors with increased power density. NREL collaborated with Ames Laboratory in the area of material characterization. The work focused on measuring the transverse rupture strength of new magnet materials developed at Ames. The impact of the improved transverse rupture strength is a mechanically stronger magnet that is easier for manufacturers to implement into motor designs. The thermal conductivity of the new magnet materials was also measured in comparison to two commercially available AlNiCo magnet materials. The impact of the thermal conductivity of the magnet material will need to be analyzed in the context of a motor application.« less