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Enhanced High Temperature Power Controller
Keywords: High Temperature, Power Controller, SOI
Many present and future applications would benefit from a reliable, smaller, efficient power control that can operate at elevated temperatures, thereby significantly reducing cooling requirements. This paper summarizes Sandia's development of a high temperature power controller suitable for various utility-based projects. The design utilizes commercially available high temperature components including Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) technologies. Examples of applications for the developed power controller include: utility-based and energy storage projects, Flexible AC transmission Systems (FACTS) controllers, Solid State Circuit Breakers, Fault Current Limiters, power supplies, Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), hybrid electric vehicles, Distributed Energy Resources such as geothermal, solar and wind, and industry motor controllers. In Phase I of this project, Sandia developed and demonstrated a high temperature power controller that operated successfully up to 240°C ambient temperature and served as the basic building block for Phase II activities. “Fine-tuning” of the prototype design was the main focus for Phase II and Phase III activities and included the following enhancements: 1) improved high side gate drive of the H bridge, 2) minimized switching “dead time”, 3) optimized output filter, and 4) improved microcontroller design to enable better control of the power devices and basic active feedback control. Phase III efforts are nearing completion and included successfully demonstrating compatibility of the Sandia-developed power controller with Arkansas Power Electronics International's (APEI) power modules with loads up to 5 kW. Compatibility to power modules using different technologies help to ensure the developed power controller is a commercially viable option for presently available power modules and future modules of similar design. In parallel, we continue to work with discrete SiC power devices to enable the design of a compact module that integrates the power devices with the controller.
Joseph A. Henfling, SMTS
Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, NM
USA


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