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24 June 2015

Luftstrom project targets more efficient and quieter battery charging in electric vehicles

With funding of about €3.9m from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 12 partners in the German automotive sector, its supply industry and the sciences (led by Infineon Technologies AG of Munich, Germany) are collaborating on the three-year research project Luftstrom (or Airstream, in English) to investigate how batteries in electric vehicles can be charged more efficiently. The use of gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors is expected to reduce losses during charging and, ultimately, make charging almost noiseless.

Electric vehicles are mainly charged overnight. However, charging in the charging device and voltage regulators creates heat that fans of water-cooled aggregates, for example, must dissipate. This can be quite noisy. The Luftstrom research aims to develop electronic power components that lower losses during charging by 30%. A reduction in waste heat and hence cooling effort means that cooling units will become more compact and operate more quietly. Components that already cause very few losses, such as auxiliary power supplies, could even do without the previously required water cooling, so loud fans would be eliminated.

The key to low-loss power electronics lies in power semiconductors based on GaN or SiC. The project will therefore also determine how such power semiconductors can be used reliably in charging devices, voltage regulators and inverters for auxiliary power units. The research results are expected to accelerate the transition to air-cooled and fan-less systems for future generations of electric vehicles.

The entire automotive value-added chain for the production and use of these new systems is represented in the project. The 12 partners include AVL Software and Functions GmbH, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Component Technology IISB, the University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Infineon Technologies AG, Lenze Drives GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, RWTH Aachen University, Siemens AG, Leibniz University Hannover, and Volkswagen AG.

See related items:

Infineon completes acquisition of International Rectifier

Tags: Infineon GaN SiC Power electronics

Visit: www.infineon.com

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