Soft-switching Gate Drive Solution from Pre-Switch Slashes Solar Inverter Costs
Soft-switching Gate Drive Solution from Pre-Switch Slashes Solar Inverter Costs.
Pre-Switch, Inc., a Silicon Valley start-up that emerged from stealth mode last year, has announced that its revolutionary soft-switching IGBT and silicon carbide gate driver architecture, including the Pre-Drive™3 controller board, powered by
the Pre-Flex™ FPGA, and RPG gate driver board, can significantly reduce the cost of solar inverters. The two-stage architecture delivers the same switching loss performance – or better – as a five-level design, resulting in reduced cost, control complexity, and BOM count. Also, Pre-Switch enables the simplification and size reduction of inverters and filters used in renewable energy systems, enabling energy to be put back into the grid easily and efficiently.
The Pre-Switch soft-switching platform enables a doubling of power output for a typical inverter or an increase in switching speed by a factor of up to 20 times. Previously, soft- switching has never been successfully-implemented for DC/AC systems with the varying input voltage, temperature and load conditions. However, Pre-Switch has overcome the challenges by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to constantly-adjust the relative timing of elements within the switching system required to force a resonance to offset the current and voltage waveforms – thereby minimizing switching losses.
Explains Pre-Switch CEO, Bruce T. Renouard: “Our benefit for solar energy system designers is that our soft-switching architecture eliminates half of the system losses. So we are able to achieve performance levels with a simple two-stage design that would require five stages using
conventional multi-level techniques.”
He adds: “The architecture also allows the grid-tie filter size to be reduced by up to 66.67% for IGBT systems and by up to 80% for SiC MOSFETs. That is a huge advantage, not only in system size but also in materials and shipping cost savings.”
Pre-Switch technology represents the quintessential elegance of human innovation. The industry-wide problem of hard-switching transistor losses—and their very real negative impact on virtually every aspect of the modern electrical world—had been overlooked by all but a few innovators. The steadfast belief that hard-switching losses were insurmountable locked engineers into the status quo and turned away investors that couldn’t understand the complex world of high power. The result is the electrical power world we live in today, built within the limitations of transistor hard-switching.