University of Arkansas Professor to Receive $2,6 million in ARPA-E Funding for Two Power Converter Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded Distinguished Professor Alan Mantooth a total of $3.2 million as part of the CIRCUITS program for two projects intended to produce efficient, lightweight, and reliable power converters. The award will fund projects to help reduce the size and complexity of power conversion systems.

The CIRCUITs program, short for Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuit Using Inventive Topologies and Semiconductors intends to develop a new class of power converters utilizing wide-bandgap semiconductor technology such as silicon-carbide (SiC) and gallium-nitride (GaN) instead of the silicon.

Mantooth will serve as the lead investigator for a proposed project titled “Reliable, High Power Density Inverters for Heavy Equipment Applications,” which received $2,163,630 of the total funding. This project intends to develop a 2-by-250 kilowatt, dual-power inverter system for use in electrifying heavy equipment and other, higher-volume transportation vehicles, including trucks and buses.

Robert Pilawa-Podgurski, associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will serve as the lead researcher for the second project, “Enabling Ultra-compact, Lightweight, Efficient, and Reliable 6.6 kW Onboard Bi-directional Electric Vehicle Charging with Advanced Topology and Control.” This second project received a total of $1,737,545, of which the University of Arkansas will receive $461,604. For this project, Mantooth will participate as a research team member and will focus on integrated circuit design. The project hopes to create an

For this project, Mantooth will participate as a research team member and will focus on integrated circuit design. The project hopes to create an onboard electric vehicle charger, employing a high-density conversion technology known as a flying capacitor multilevel converter. This converter decreases charging time while also supporting the vehicle’s auxiliary loads to help maximize overall system utilization. Other participants on this team include Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Delphi Automotive.