It’s been a busy week for Ideal Power Converters. The company introduced its 30 kilowatt, 3-Port Hybrid Converter at the TechConnect World Conference in Washington, D.C., where it won the National Innovation Award. Then it partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop the next-generation electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The converter does the work of an inverter and charger and grid intertied system. The converter has three bi-directional ports, allowing it to accept and discharge electricity from each one. It has one AC grid port and two independent DC ports. The DC ports can connect to a PV array, batteries and or an EV. “The system is designed to allow power to flow in any mix among any ports with 96.5 percent estimated CEC efficiency,” the company said.
“Hybrid power conversion systems are needed to turn intermittent PV power into reliable power for mitigating peak loads, providing backup power and for off-grid applications,” said Paul Bundschuh, Chief Executive Officer of IPC. What’s more, the whole system weighs about 125 pounds, which offers a power density (watts to pounds) that Ideal Power Converters believes is ten times higher than other hybrid power converters of the same size.
“Existing hybrid converters require multiple power converter stages, adding to costs and efficiency losses,” Bundschuch said. “IPC’s 3-Port Hybrid Converter is expected to reduce weight and logistic costs by up to 90 percent, as well as PV-to-grid efficiency losses by up to 50 percent.”
The company also announced that it’s partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to verify the converter’s capabilities. They’re also working to jointly develop reference designs for a next-generation hybrid EV charging infrastructure.
Under the agreement, NREL will use the company’s Energy Packet Switching topology to develop and test next generation electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The approach is aimed at reducing expenses related to developing an EV charging infrastructure.
"NREL and IPC previously demonstrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities with the IPC Battery Converter, and this CRADA expands our successful cooperation," said Tony Markel, NREL’s manager at the Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility. The lab will use the converter system and test it with solar energy and battery storage for high-power or fast EV charging.
Looking forward, Ideal Power Converters is looking to use its converters to provide vehicle-to-building capabilities. Such a capability could allow the converters to power a building via an EV’s battery. Something that has long been discussed, but thus far not practiced.