This development will lead to more reliable and energy efficient devices.
Pulsed power systems collect and store massive amounts of energy for a set amount of time before releasing it all at once. The next generation of tiny pulsed power systems is being developed by researchers at the University of Houston, lead by Cullen College Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Harish Krishnamoorthy. Doctoral student Yu Yao is the study’s lead author.
Pulsed power systems were crucial in the development of x-ray machines, MRI machines, and NMR-based tools for fossil fuel production as the twentieth century advanced.
They propose building a mini-pulsed power system that can minimise the system’s energy storage components, such as capacitors, and deliver an immediate surge of power in their research paper published in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. The study showed that energy storage elements can be as small as a tenth of the size of traditional pulsed power systems utilised in essential applications like radar.
The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently gave them a $1 million grant to create their gallium nitride (GaN)-based miniaturised pulsed power system. Researchers from Harvard University and Schlumberger, who are sub-recipients of the funding, will collaborate with Krishnamoorthy’s team.
“Initially we’ll make a compact pulsed power supply for extreme environment fluid characterisation that can disruptively reduce the cost of downhole well logging tools used in fossil and geothermal energy production. This will be followed by a miniaturised converter suitable for mobile hand-held MRI machines. However, we think that we can extend our technology to make small water-purification systems, pulsed laser systems and pulsed electro-magnetic radiation sources,” said Krishnamoorthy.
“We’re essentially creating a small high-density energy storage machine that will help with reducing the space these machines use, which will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in material costs and improve their reliability,” Krishnamoorthy added.
Read the entire paper here.