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Power Electronics Directions: Implications for Thermal Management Developments
Keywords: Power semiconductors, vehicle electrification, future directions
The power semiconductor serves as the basic building block of energy efficiency, the future of electronics on a global scale for this next century. Improvements in energy generation, transmission, and consumption per unit of work desired are critical to bringing a rapid decline to rampant growth in total global emissions, in order to ensure a viable planet beyond this century. Energy efficiency is the future of electronics and this presentation focuses on the power side of the equation. This presentation is designed to outline market drivers, provide an overview of power semiconductor transition to SiC and GaN, identify implications of that device transition from what has been silicon power devices, and segment the power electronics markets to provide better visibility. Further, identifying how the power electronics industry is structured and what the implications are for thermal management developments and on-going implementation is primary to understanding how we are seeing step-by-step incremental improvements in liquid cooling, especially, as applied to IGBT power semiconductors over the last five decades. Detailing how liquid cooling, in particular, after fifty years, is embedded in and has moved forward to highly integrated power and thermal management implementations in current products in the automotive, aerospace, heavy vehicle, electrical generation and transmission, energy storage, and electrical drives globally is important to understand how far we have progressed with incremental steps at the design and manufacturing level. These changes are taking place on a daily basis, globally, as our industry presses forward – and do not require new dramatic and over-publicized developments in nanomaterials or other extraordinary possible new concepts, but are the result of the exertion of market forces and competent, current industry expertise. Examples of current production hardware for electrification of vehicles, in particular, is used as the demonstration of this level of progress achieved, including both powertrain electronics and on-board energy storage and the thermal management implementations found in model year vehicles in production today. Comparisons in energy efficiencies by vehicle segment, indications of near-future implementations, and similar measures of progress towards dramatic and significant energy efficiency improvements and the corresponding implications for thermal management concepts, technologies, hardware, and materials are made.
Dave Saums, Principal
DS&A LLC
Amesbury, MA
USA


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