High-Efficiency POL License Offered by California Power Research

June 29, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

California Power Research (CPR) is seeking licensees for a point-of-load (POL) dc-dc converter that delivers an efficiency of 91.2% when producing an output of 1.2Vdc at 18A from a 12Vdc input. According to CPR, the novel design cuts losses to 2.09W compared with losses of 4.30W for a comparable 18A POL designed to the Point of Load Alliance (POLA) specifications. Dubbed the BPS-5, the new POL is produced with the same component class and the same board space as comparable POLA devices. Further optimization and the use of improved MOSFET packages are expected to push up efficiency even further.

The scope of power conversion applications targeted by the BPS-5 is broad, but the specific target of current development activities is point-of-load converters used to power low-voltage, high-current microprocessors, such as dc-dc conversion from 12Vdc to 1.2Vdc in the range of 26 A per cell. The BPS-5 can be operated in a novel multi-cell arrangement to deliver higher output currents.

The BPS-5 features continuous input current resulting in reduced electromagnetic interference (EMI) compared with conventional POLA converters. In addition, the new POL features a fast transient response compatible with microprocessor voltage regulator modules and needs no external capacitors.

According to CPR, transformation of current POLA implementations into a BPS-5 solution eliminates the need for external capacitors and the mounting requirements to a 4-inch by 4-inch PCB (for thermal considerations) required by the POLA devices. That is expected to result in lower net system cost and smaller converter size.

CPR is currently seeking licensees for the BPS-5 and is being represented by Venture Management, Inc.