What if your laptop no longer needed a converter brick? What if the DC power from your solar panels was converted to AC electricity with virtually no power loss from the conversion? What if the regenerative brakes in electric drive vehicles could put power into the batteries with almost no loss from power conversion? New technology could reduce power conversion losses by an estimated 90 percent.
A company called Transphorm, whose investors include Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins and which was recipient of a significant ARPA-E grant to develop this technology, is poised to introduce their initial product offerings which can significantly improve power conversion. The technology is based on using gallium nitride instead of traditional components to greatly reduce the energy losses in power conversion.
The technology for these new devices is based on developments for the use of gallium nitride for LEDs. In addition to the significant improvement in efficiency, components made in this fashion would also be lighter than conventional converters.
Not only would this be useful for laptop computers, but many renewable energy production systems such as solar photovoltaics and wind turbines would also see an efficiency improvement of a few percent over current systems. It might not seem like much, but the long term benefits of this, multiplied over billions of devices, could be hugely significant. As the company points out, "More than 10% of all electricity is ultimately lost due to conversion inefficiencies. The scale of this loss exceeds the world's entire supply of renewable generation by an order of magnitude." Even if this company can address all of that, it will still take many years to overcome the current stock of less efficient converters.
written by Green Leaf Goods, February 26, 2011
written by Thomas | Electriccar, February 27, 2011
written by Tony, March 09, 2011
written by Australian Correspondence School, March 11, 2011
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