UNC Charlotte’s EPIC and SBE Initiate Power Electronics Collaboration

February 28, 2018 by Paul Shepard

UNC Charlotte's Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) and SBE announced the launch of a mutual collaboration effort to improve High Power Electronics success in industry by utilizing EPIC's new state-of-the-art testing, simulation, and design engineering resources with SBE's industry leading dc-link technologies for use in Power Conversion.

EPIC is a unit of The William States Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which began operations in 2012, to serve as a university center specializing in workforce development and applied research for the electric power industry.

In 2018, EPIC is adding to the capabilities of its Flexible Power Laboratory with a major expansion to the laboratory equipment. A new 1-MVA circulating power test bed will permit inverters, converters, and circuit protection equipment to be evaluated at both 480V industrial voltage and 4160V medium voltage.

With these new capabilities, customers can validate critical power electronic elements such as grid-tie inverters for renewable energy under full power grid-simulated conditions. EPIC maintains an experienced staff of engineers to support customer projects over short, intermediate, and extended time frames.

SBE's industry known Power Ring Technology allows customers to achieve full power utilization and reach new levels of power conversion efficiency. As new semiconductor technologies are launched, old power electronic architectures are no longer suitable to achieve the desired goals. SBE has developed a range of device approaches and layout topologies which allow the new, next generation systems to reach their expected and full potential.

A customer needs to be able to design these components in as well prove that they are achieving the expected results. This new collaboration between UNC EPIC and SBE makes it possible to hit aggressive timelines and quantify success. This requirement is often a problem for new system development due to lack of capable test lab capacity and test engineering resources. That problem will be solved by the new test bed.

"I am very pleased that EPIC now has a formal relationship with my long time colleagues at SBE Electronics," said Dr. Mike Mazzola, Director of EPIC. "With our improved facility, EPIC will be an attractive full-service applied research partner within the ecosystem of suppliers of the next generation of high-frequency power electronic components and products that SBE is assembling."

"SBE is pleased to start this collaboration effort with UNC EPIC. Our customers need a capable and trusted third party location to validate their system critical parameters using SBE leading edge technology" stated Ed Sawyer, SBE President & CEO. "The industry needs additional skilled resources to develop and execute these important tests at a capable world class facility and UNC EPIC brings this to the table."