Power electronics is the technology that ties wind turbines and photovoltaics to the electric power grid, propels hybrid and electric vehicles, powers a countless variety of electronic systems, and makes it possible to operate battery-powered mobile devices for many hours. In the Colorado Power Electronics Center, we are exploring ways to achieve significant system-level advances in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources via smart power electronics [publications]. Current research projects and topics include:

  • ASPIRE - Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification, a new NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC). CU-Boulder announcement. ASPIRE ERC partner institutions are USE (lead), CU-Boulder, Purdue U., and UTEP, with over 50 partner institutions including industry members and stakeholders across electrified transportation and electric power system areas. Prof. Maksimovic's group is participating in the ASPIRE Power Research Thrust focused on power electronics and power system issues related to wired and wireless charging infrastructure and vehicle electrification. He also serves as co-Lead of the ASPIRE Engineering Workforce Development (EWD).  
  • High-Efficiency Ultra-High Density Power Convertersa project sponsored by Lockheed Martin aims to develop data-driven algorithms for optimization of power distribution architectures, and novel hybrid converters to dramatically reduce size and losses of switching power converters. 
  • Multi-Level Power Conversion, a project sponsored by Advanced Energy. Novel multi-level converter topologies and control algorithms are developed to demonstrate arbitrary waveform generation at power levels in the kW range and voltages in the hundreds of volts.   
  • High-Frequency Digitally Controlled Monolithic Power Converters, a project sponsored by Dialog Semiconductor. We are developing digital control algorithms to minimize voltage deviation and reduce the size of passive components in non-inverting buck-boost converters for mobile applications. 
  • Modular Wide-Bandgap String Inverters for Low-Cost Medium-Voltage Transformerless PV Systems, a project sponsored by DOE Solar Energy Technology Office in the Advanced Power Electronics Design for Solar Applications program. The project aims to develop a new PV architecture comprised of stackable modules with distributed controls. Team: U of Washington, CU-Boulder, NREL, Wolfspeed.
  • A High-voltage, High-reliability Scalable Architecture for Electric Vehicle Power Electronics, a project sponsored by the ARPA-E CIRCUITS program, has objectives to develop new composite SiC power converter technology that achieves high power and voltage conversion at ultra-high efficiency and power density. The technology will be demonstrated on a multifunctional power system for electric vehicles. Team: CU-Boulder, Toyota, Wolfspeed, NREL.
  • High-Frequency, High-Efficiency Automotive LED Drivers, a project sponsored by Texas Instruments aims to develop converter architectures and design techniques to reduce losses, reduce EMI, and improve the efficiency and regulation capabilities of automotive LED drivers.
  • Robust Plug-and-play Battery Systems, a project sponsored by ONR, aims to develop high-performance, long-life, battery systems with active power management for mobile and dc microgrid applications.
  • Converter Topologies and Control for Multiple-Voltage-Domain Power Distribution, a project sponsored by Lockheed Martin, is focused on high efficiency, high density single-input multiple-output dc-dc topologies for communication and server systems.
  • A Disruptive Approach to Electric Vehicle Power Electronics, a project sponsored by DOE Vehicle Technologies to develop a new modular power conversion approach that utilizes both silicon and wide bandgap devices to address the fundamental power conversion, loss, and component stress mechanisms. Industry partner: Wolfspeed.
  • Integrated power converters for photovoltaic (PV) modules in PV power systems, an ARPA-E Solar ADEPT project. Team: CU-Boulder, NREL, Nuvotronics. The project goals are to show how sub-module integrated DC-DC converters can substantially improve efficiency and reduce cost in all PV systems, including various types of PV modules in residential, commercial, or utility-scale systems.
  • Robust cell-level modeling and control of large battery packs, an ARPA-E AMPED(Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices) program. Team: USU, CU-Boulder, UCCS, NREL, Ford. Our objectives are to demonstrate substantial improvements in battery packs using distributed intelligent power electronics performing advanced cell-level management and control algorithms.
  • Power management for high-efficiency handset and base station RF transmitter systems, including Microscale Power Converters (MPC). We are developing high-slew rate, high-bandwidth, high-efficiency power converters targeting high-efficiency RF transmitter architectures.
  • High-efficiency power conversion and power control in data centers. Power conversion and digital control techniques are developed to significantly improve the efficiency of power distribution and power management in data centers.
  • Automotive power electronics
    • High-efficiency LED drivers
    • High-efficiency drivetrain power converters
    • Chargers, grid integration of electric drive vehicles
    • Architectures of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
  • Control and optimization of micro-grids using smart power electronics
  • Power conversion and power management for mobile electronics
  • Digital control for improved efficiency and improved transient responses in high-frequency switched-mode DC-DC power converters
    • Auto-tuning and adaptive control techniques for switched-mode power converters
    • Digital control for improved efficiency and reduced harmonic distortion in AC-DC power factor correction rectifiers over wide ranges of operating conditions
    • A/D and digital PWM techniques for mixed-signal power control and power management integrated circuits