Power Engineering in the Spotlight at 2024 Trade Shows
The 2024 trade show season is just around the corner. Here’s what to expect from CES, PowerGen, APEC, and Distributech.
There will be plenty of power innovations at the top industry conferences in early 2024. The docket includes everything from electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment, battery monitoring tools, microgrids, and renewables to transmission and distribution technologies.
Crowds awaiting entrance to CES 2023. The 2024 conference will be held in Las Vegas. Image used courtesy of Consumer Technology Association
Here’s a preview of what to expect at four upcoming conferences: CES, PowerGen, APEC, and Distributech.
CES 2024: Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas
CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) is bigger than ever. The 2024 event is on track to beat last year’s turnout, with an anticipated 130,000 attendees and 3,500 exhibitors. The 2023 edition featured advanced materials innovations for EVs and tons of electrification products.
Several players in the energy/power, smart cities, and sustainability sectors will be exhibitors, including power electronics makers like Infineon and Wolfspeed, alongside EV charging providers such as Blink Charging, EVBolt, and EVBox. Industry giants Mitsubishi Electric, Analog Devices, and Eaton will also demo their products.
Analog Devices is expected to exhibit an integrated EV supply equipment (EVSE) solution that delivers energy storage, power conversion, and energy management capabilities. The product enables bi-directional power flow for vehicle-to-grid integration.
Last year, Mitsubishi Electric demonstrated a suite of software products to help buildings meet net-zero emissions goals by monitoring and adjusting ventilation, predicting energy use, and controlling temperatures. It also presented smart grid solutions and distributed energy resource (DER) management software for power distribution utilities, DER operators, and engineers that handle the control and optimization of energy assets, both traditional and distributed.
The 2023 event showcased Mitsubishi Electric’s Power-I analytics platform, a robotic substation monitoring system that performs virtual inspections of power substations and other infrastructure.
Video used courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products
Electric motors are on the CES 2024 docket, including Mercury Marine’s electric propulsion systems for boats.
A Japanese startup, inQs, will present its clear solar glass concept, which generates electricity from sunlight and harnesses energy from invisible light sources. The window-like structure features layered nanomaterials for generation between two sheets of conductive glass.
InQs’s solar glass concept features two conductive glass sheets and layered nanomaterials to generate electricity from sunlight. Image used courtesy of InQs
PowerGen 2024: Jan. 23-25 in New Orleans
PowerGen International convenes electricity generators, utilities, independent producers, and software providers in the power generation industry. It typically draws over 8,000 professionals (20% of whom are power producers) and 500 exhibiting companies. In addition, the conference is a popular designation for engineering, procurement and construction companies, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers.
The exhibitors span conventional fossil fuel-based generation manufacturers in the coal and natural gas supply chains alongside companies offering microgrids and battery energy storage. Cogeneration, on-site, and distributed power are also in the mix, including reciprocating engines, hydrogen and alternative fuel sources, and peaker-power plants.
The “hydrogen hub” section of the floorplan includes players like Plug Power, which plans to build and operate a hydrogen highway in Europe and North America. Other demos span digitalization and optimization software, microgrids, and other technologies to support the transition to renewable energy.
Siemens Industry will showcase resources for engineers who work with SINUMERIK CNC automation systems, including tips for NC programming, CAD/CAM integration, and digital manufacturing. The company helps manufacturers of gas/steam turbines, hydropower and nuclear plants, and wind and solar equipment boost their efficiency and shop floor productivity when using CNC machines.
Other exhibitors include power distribution suppliers like ESL Power Systems, presenting its transfer switches, generator docking stations, and other tools.
APEC 2024: Feb. 25-29 in California
The Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) combines the practical and applied aspects of power electronics, convening manufacturers of power supplies and DC/DC converters, component and assembly suppliers, and designers of motor drives, inverters, and uninterruptible power supplies. Last year’s event attracted more than 5,000 attendees and 289 exhibiting companies. The 2024 expo hall is already sold out, though specific details from the top exhibitors, such as Hitachi, Analog Devices, and Wolfspeed, are still forthcoming.
Infineon reports it will showcase its silicon and wide bandgap device portfolio of power management products and CoolSiC MOSFETs for photovoltaic inverters, energy storage, and battery charging applications. It will also demo products offering high performance with fewer losses in energy storage and renewable systems, including a solid-state circuit breaker, bidirectional AC/DC and DC/DC evaluation boards, and the PrimePACK 2300V for 1500V DC bus voltage applications.
Infineon will also provide its DC EV charger reference design, bidirectional DC/DC converter, onboard charger, and MOSFETs for energy-efficient charging.
At APEC 2023, Texas Instruments (TI) featured the latest generation of its Power Stage Designer software tool, which helps engineers speed up their power supply designs by calculating currents and voltages for more than 20 power supply topologies. The new version brought fresh functions, an improved graphical user interface, and an extra topology.
TI also showcased its automotive battery cell and pack monitors last year, providing enhanced measurement capabilities to maximize driving range and improve safety.
Voltages, current, and temperatures measured by Texas Instruments’ BQ79731-Q1 battery pack monitor inside a battery junction box. Image used courtesy of TI
Last year, Power Integrations introduced 900 V GaN-based devices in its InnoSwitch3-AQ and InnoSwitch3-EP flyback switcher IC families, targeting automotive and industrial applications. The products allowed engineers to deliver 100 W outputs with over 93% efficiency, minimizing the requirement for heat sinks and streamlining space-limited applications like EV systems.
Distributech 2024: Feb. 26-29 in Orlando
Distributech International is a must-attend conference for the transmission and distribution industry, drawing over 17,000 professionals, 500 exhibitors, and 3,500 utility attendees to discuss trends in DERs (including load handling, energy storage, and interconnection), smart city-targeted automation and data management applications, and smart charging systems for EVs.
So far, the exhibitor list includes major players like ABB, showcasing its reclosers, circuit breakers, transformers, and e-mobility products. Itron will feature grid-edge technologies, demand response, distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure, and DER management systems.
Siemens will showcase its distribution automation, operations management, and analytics software. Hitachi Energy plans to present its advanced distribution management systems, DER integration, microgrids, substation automation, and high-voltage switchgear and breakers.
FLO’s SmartDC Fast Charger. Image used courtesy of FLO
EVSE makers are also represented in the mix. FLO will present its smart charging systems, including the FLO Ultra all-in-one DC fast charger, boasting a 97% uptime and sufficient capacity (up to 500 kW) to charge four cars at once. The product debuted at Distributech 2023, with FLO claiming it could charge most EVs to 80% in 15 minutes.
FLO will also showcase its SmartDC outdoor fast charger, SmartTWO Series public charging stations, and Level 2 chargers.