APEC 2023 Debrief
GaN was the Buzz of the Power Electronics Conference this Year
It was another jam-packed week at the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), hosted in Orlando last week. The annual event focuses on both practical and applied aspects of the power electronics business, and a crowd over 3,000 strong made 2023 a great post-pandemic foray into the power electronics industry.
Some of our key takeaways from APEC this year include:
- It’s all about Gallium Nitride (GaN).
- GaN technology has been a hot topic at APEC for the past several years, and 2023 was no exception. GaN is driving the trend to higher frequency power electronics and systems, helping to reduce system size and power new experiences such as spatial freedom for wireless power. GaN applications featured include consumer electronics, data-center servers and power supplies, renewable energy systems, industrial motors and automotive electronics.
- Dr. Tamara Baksht, CEO & Co-Founder of VisIC Technologies shared a plenary session presentation titled, “GaN for EV PowerTrain: Breakthroughs and Challenges,” discussing the successful development of a three-phase GaN-based inverter reference design and merging two buzz-worthy subjects – GaN advances and electric vehicle emergence. Wireless charging for EVs is a big piece of the EV infrastructure equation as wide-scale adoption takes hold.
- GaN Systems previewed its GaN-Based 800V Onboard Charger for automotive applications at Booth #822. The charger combines a flying capacitor multilevel structure with high performance GaN switches, increasing power density and reducing overall BOM cost by as much as 15%.
- The stars are aligned for batteryless IOT sensors that last a lifetime.
- Patrick Chapman, Vice President of Electrical Engineering at Redwood Materials, examined the issue of recycling batteries in a plenary session presentation on “Recycling, Refining, and Remanufacturing Battery Materials.” His speech not only highlighted the need to better manage battery recycling and e-waste, but also eliminate batteries altogether through the deployment of wireless power technologies.
- Steve Statler of Wiliot, an expert in Bluetooth technology and intelligent ambient IoT, spoke at the Wireless Power Industry Showcase about building postage stamp size IoT sensors – IoT Pixels – that feature RF power harvesting as the only energy source.
- The all-electric driving experience is going mainstream.
- The Genesis GV60, an all-electric vehicle crowned a 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick, delivers striking design and intuitive personalization. The GV60 is coming to the US market soon and is shipping with wireless charging.
- In tandem with an APEC appearance by Milisav Danilovic, Senior Principal Scientist, R&D and Power Electronics Lead, WiTricity announced that it is partnering with ABT e-Line to bring wireless EV charging to the streets of Europe.
- Power electronics engineering education is necessary to take the industry forward.
- The important issue of educating the power electronics workforce was top of mind. Robert Erickson, a Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering at CU Boulder, discussed the development of a MOOC (massively open online course) degree program, which emphasizes Power Electronics and Embedded Systems Engineering and is tailored to working professionals.
- Katherine Kim, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at National Taiwan University (NTU), talked about the impact of public educational videos, using the example of IEEE PELS, which is building up IEEE Educational Videos on Power Electronics (PELS Tube), peer-reviewed videos by power electronics experts available to all.
- With wireless power adoption growing by leaps and bounds, it is crucial that our industry follow in the steps of other academic, trade and standards organizations and deliver education to train the workforce of the future in wireless charging and wireless power technologies.