Power converter targets $1 billion market

American Superconductor Corporation’s Integrated Electronics division has released its first commercial power converter product. Dubbed the PowerModule, it employs several proprietary features the company believes can create a standard for the power conversion industry.

Power converters are key components in many electric power applications, including micro-turbines and fuel cells for distributed generation of power, superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) for power quality and reliability, variable speed drives for electric motors, drive trains for electric vehicles, wind and solar power generators, and un-interruptible power supplies.

According to analysts, the global addressable market for power converters with power ratings over 60 kilowatts currently exceeds $1 billion annually. AMSC believes its new PowerModule is the world’s highest power density, lowest-cost power converter on the market today for ratings above 60 kilowatts, the lowest power level addressed by the company’s PowerModule product line.

PowerModules are based on a proprietary, printed circuit board design, which allows the use of standard electronic manufacturing techniques. Integrated Electronics is designing, developing and producing PowerModules that have ratings from 60 to 1,000 kilowatts per module. The first product offering is the PowerModule-250, a product fielded successfully in AMSC’s commercial SMESsystems, and which has a power rating of 250 kilowatts.

PowerModules can be operated in parallel for higher power ratings and can be reconfigured to obtain a variety of ratings, pole numbers, and sizes from common hardware. Fiber optic communication provides high speed, noise-immune communication between PowerModules or to system controllers, which are often used to coordinate the operation of many separate power converters.

Software and control hardware is modular and programmable to allow rapid development of new applications or to be reconfigured for customer specific features.

On the web at www.amsuper.com