Powervation, a New Digital Power Start-Up, is Announced in Europe

September 06, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Powervation Ltd., a spin-out from the Circuits & Systems Research Centre (CSRC) at the University of Limerick, Ireland has raised funding from 4th Level Ventures, Shannon Development and founders. The investment will fund the commercialization of Integrated Circuit based Power Management systems for high performance digital systems.

Digital control and management of electronic power systems is in its infancy as system designers have historically used analog-based solutions. Nonetheless, increasing complexity of systems, coupled with lower voltages and higher currents of new chip technologies, is creating a demand for digital control and management of the power function. This demand is expected to create a new market for Digital Power Management integrated circuits, which Darnell Research estimates will be worth greater than $800m by 2010.

The company's technology will be deployed initially in higher end, information processing intensive markets such as Telecommunications, Data communications, Servers and Storage Systems. Powervation's approach (already proven in silicon) is unique in that it employs proprietary true DSP and RISC cores which are specifically designed for high performance point-of-load applications. They are extremely lean and therefore lower power consumption and cost, yet have high flexibility. The proprietary non-linear controller algorithm achieves ultra-fast transient response to large load current changes. It responds in less than 2 switching cycles, reducing the number of capacitors required and improving power quality.

The company is headed up by former Power-One Managing Director, Antoin Russell. The team includes Alan Dunne (former head of the CSRC), Dr Karl Rinne (who has had an extensive international career in Power Electronics research), Dr Eamon O'Malley (who has just completed a PhD focussing on digital power Management following a 10 year career in silicon design), and Gary Duffy (former Managing Director of Artesyn Technologies). The company is based in the National Technology Park in Limerick and expects to attract a full round of funding by the end of the year.

Commenting on the company's plans, Antoin Russell said "Every so often a major inflection occurs in technology markets. Based on four years of research and our significant intellectual property portfolio we are in fantastic position to take full advantage of this emerging opportunity."

Anna Frankland of 4th Level Ventures commented "We look forward to working with the Powervation team and believe that there is a significant opportunity for the company to capture a large part of the digital power control market with their unique technology."