SwiSSTransformer

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Project objectives

Overall objective of this project is the development of a novel, silicon-carbide (SiC) based solid-state transformer (SST) and the assessment of its application in the Swiss electrical grid in order to contribute to reach the goals of the Swiss “Energy Strategy 2050″.

Research & Development partners:

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The project is set up into four sub-projects with the individual objectives:

Sub-Project 1 (PSI, ABB)

Development of novel high-performance SiC diodes and MOSFETs at 3.3kV.

Sub-Project 2 (EPFL, ABB)

Development of a novel energy efficient cooling & packaging approach for high power-density SiC devices.

Sub-Project 3 (ETHZ)

Design of a SST topology; prototyping, testing and performance assessment of a SiC solid-state converter cell.

Sub-Project 4 (FHNW, ABB, BKW)

Theoretical modelling and experimental emulation of electrical grids with the functionalities offered by SSTs; energetic & economic life-cycle sustainability analysis of grid-based SiC SSTs.

Tackled issues

The major challenges addressed by this project are (1) to demonstrate cost-effectiveness, performance and reliability of the SiC SST itself; and (2) to verify the usefulness of SiC SSTs applied in the Swiss electrical grid in order to substantially contribute to reaching the targets of the Swiss “Energy Strategy 2050″. The underlying issues addressed by the sub-projects under this umbrella project are:

  • Sub-project 1: Demonstrate a fabrication process for 3.3kV SiC MOSFET and diode devices resulting in high process yield, low process variability, and high performance and reliability of the fabricated devices.
  • Sub-project 2: Realize and fabricate novel packages suitable for SiC semiconductors, capable of reliable high-temperature and high-power-density operation, with an integrated energy efficient microscale two-phase cooling system as a new thermal management approach.
  • Sub-project 3: Demonstrate the high-efficiency operation of a SST cell demonstrator and at the same time prove the added functionality of the SST consisting of the underlying cells.
  • Sub-project 4: Establish a life-cycle sustainability model of grid-based SiC SSTs based on reliability test results and develop a realistic description and an in-depth understanding of the SST functionalities and its application in the electrical grid, by using experimental (micro-grid demonstrator) and theoretical (grid simulations) approaches.

Funding

This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) via the national research program 70 – “Energy Turnaround”

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