Ideal Power Converters debuted a hybrid converter that can reduce costs and improve efficiency in systems that integrate solar energy with grid storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, at the National Innovation Conference in Washington, DC, last week. The 30kW, 3-port converter will hit the market later this year.
The hybrid converter, which won the National Innovation Award, does not require multiple conversion stages and hardware units like traditional converters do – within one unit, it has bi-directional ports that allow power to flow through one AC grid port and two independent DC ports, with an estimated CEC efficiency of 96.5 percent.
IPC has developed and patented an energy packet switching topology which forms the basis of its technology for the single-stage, multi-port hybrid converter as well as other products for the solar and battery storage markets.
To transform intermittent photovoltaic energy into reliable back-up power that lowers the load on the grid during peak hours, and for off-grid applications, hybrid conversion systems are necessary, and IPC’s converter can reduce weight and logistics costs by 90 percent, and conversion loss (from PV to grid) by 50 percent, says CEO Paul Bundschuh.
IPC’s converter weighs about 125 pounds, and the company says it provides ten times higher power density than other hybrid power converters and can reduce manufacturing, shipping, installation and maintenance costs.
It believes these cost and efficiency improvements will enable hybrid power systems to be widely deployed for grid storage and charging infrastructure, and also to function as micro-grids for people in areas without stable electric power.
Austin, Texas-based IPC is also partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to verify the converter’s capabilities and develop reference designs for hybrid EV charging infrastructure. It developed hardware for its converter with an SBIR Phase 1 award from the US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. It has also received a $2.5 million ARPA-E award.