Power Generation, Distribution and Conversion

Contact Press / Media

Head of focal point 2: Dr. Martin März

Fraunhofer-Institut für Integrierte Systeme und Bauelementetechnologie IISB
Landgrabenstraße 94
90443 Nürnberg

Phone +49 911-23568-10

Focal Point 2: Power Generation, Distribution and Conversion

How the energy gets into the vehicle?
In terms of efficient energy transport, from well to wheel, electric energy is predominant compared to fossil fuels. A variety of primary wells are, in principle, applicable. In particular, the emission of greenhouse gas caused by road traffic can be reduced significantly when using renewable sources like sun and wind energy.

Furthermore, the use of renewable energy contributes to solve the urgent problems of global climate change and loss of resources. Today’s market share of energy from renewable sources, however, is about 15% and will be increased significantly in the coming years.

On the other hand more energy from sun and wind in our electricity networks will lead to more fluctuations with respect to the availability of energy and may necessitate appropriate countermeasures. A wide spread electrification of the vehicle fleet could solve or at least moderate this problem.

The favorable way to use the vehicle fleet as electric power buffer is based on batteries as energy storage systems. The over all storage capacity of batteries in the entire electric vehicle fleet allows an efficient load management, leading to a better balance between energy supply and energy demand, which can even be improved by an energetic recovery system, feeding excess energy from the vehicles back into the electricity network. This example makes clear that the conversion of the power engine cannot be handled separately and isolated. Instead, an overall concept analysis, including energy generation, energy distribution, the interface between vehicle and electricity network, the vehicle itself and the infrastructure is needed.

In order to improve power electronics and electrical drive engineering for vehicles, the entire value chain must be taken into account, leading from basic technologies to high-end system components. A bunch of technological measures is necessary and has to be undertaken to improve the robustness of the electronic core components. Based on this, complex system components (e.g. drive train, voltage converter) can be examined, particularly concerning vehicle typical demands. Not at least with respect to safety and redundancy questions, which are mandatory for the vehicles´ approval, aspects of robust design are addressed as well as aspects of cooling, of electromagnetic compatibility and of the software integration of the systems in the vehicle. All components have to pass through comprehensive test procedures based on an advanced test rig technology.

The prior aspects of the research work include the interface between public power grid and electric vehicles as well as power electronic systems for energy management in vehicles and electric vehicle drives:
  • Power modules with high level of reliability and functionality
  • Electromagnetic compatibility of on-board electrical system
  • Electric axle drives with integrated power electronics
  • By using innovative technologies, the energy efficiency, safety, reliability and cost effectiveness of electronic systems are to be increased significantly.