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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: Fraunhofer-GesellschaftIs it time to go to the supermarket or into town? Battery electric vehicles score highly on such short distances. For commercial vehicles, aircraft and ships, on the other hand, a fuel cell drive is very promising: There a fuel cell converts hydrogen into electricity. However, numerous components are required for this – they all have to be smaller and lighter in order to make the vehicle drive as energy-efficient as possible. One of these components is the DC / DC converter: It adjusts the voltage of the fuel cell to the drive and controls the flow of energy. Increased efficiency, halved lossesDr. Bernd Eckardt and Dr. Stefan Matlok from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB in Erlangen have now developed a DC / DC converter that, despite its extremely compact dimensions, achieves a very high level of efficiency – and has been awarded the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for this. The jury particularly emphasized the future relevance of the work results and the successful economic implementation. “While conventional DC / DC converters have an efficiency of around 97 to 98 percent, ours is up to 99 percent,” says Eckardt. “That may not sound like a lot at first, but that more than halves the losses and every tenth of a percent counts.” Ultimately, the converter has an output of 200,000 watts. A loss of one percent means that two kilowatts of power are lost in the form of heat. Despite the generally accepted doctrine, while the electrical converters for fuel cells currently take up around ten liters of space, the converter from Fraunhofer IISB accounts for half of this out. In combination with the high efficiency, this is a sensation. After all, high switching frequencies and small components generally cause more losses. Despite this doctrine, the two engineers developed new technologies that enable highly efficient and very small converters. “Up until now, what we achieved was considered impossible,” recalls Matlok. “It was made possible by digging deeper and deeper into the physical effects of the circuits and components – and by taking a close look we were able to understand and use new physical effects. Among other things, this led to new switching methods. In addition, there are constantly new technologies: Our colleagues and specialized companies from the corresponding specialist areas are developing ever more powerful individual components, which we can bring together as a team to form increasingly powerful converters. After all, the Fraunhofer IISB covers all the important technological areas of power electronics and has the necessary measurement and manufacturing equipment from the various areas. ”And so the Fraunhofer IISB realizes the entire value chain – from material development to chip manufacturing technology and the In the climate chamber on site, the researchers have already tested the voltage converter – installed in a car – for its functionality: the temperatures varied from 25 degrees minus to 50 degrees plus. A winter test that a car company carried out in wintry Norway was also very promising. In 2020, the two award winners therefore want to found a company with a small core team that will sell the DC voltage converters.

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