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Power Conversion

Basic Power conversion process

A power converter is an electrical or electro-mechanical device used for the purpose of converting electrical energy. This could be as simple as a transformer action to change the voltage of AC power, but also includes far more complex systems.

Power is the major backbone of any kind of electronic system and the power supply is what feeds the system. Choosing the right supply can be the critical difference between a device working at optimum levels and one that may deliver inconsistent results.

The primary task of power electronics is to process and control the flow of electric energy by supplying voltages and currents in a form that is optimally suited for user loads. Modern power electronic converters are involved in a very broad spectrum of applications like Switched Mode Power Supplies (SMPS), active power filters, electrical machine motion control, renewable energy conversion systems distributed power generation, flexible AC transmission systems, and vehicular technology, etc.

Power electronic converters can be found wherever there is a need to modify the electrical energy form with classical electronics in which electrical currents and voltage are used to carry information, whereas with power electronics, they carry power. Some examples of uses for power electronic systems are DC/DC converters used in many mobile devices, such as cell phones or PDAs, and AC/DC converters in computers and televisions. Large scale power electronics are used to control hundreds of megawatt of power flow across nation.

Types of power conversion

     DC to DC

  • Linear regulator
  • Voltage regulator
  • Motor–generator
  • Rotary converter
  • Switched-mode power supply

     DC to AC

  • Power inverter
  • Motor–generator
  • Rotary converter
  • Switched-mode power supply

AC Power Conversion

     AC to DC

  • Mains power supply unit (PUS)
  • Motor–generator
  • Rotary converter
  • Switched-mode power supply

    AC to AC

  • Transformer or auto transformer
  • Voltage converter
  • Voltage regulator
  • Cycloconverter
  • Variable-frequency transformer
  • Motor–generator
  • Rotary converter
  • Switched-mode power supply


power conversion

Renewable energy usage in power conversion

Renewable energy is the energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replaced on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy frequently provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

Solar energy conversion describes technologies ardent to the transformation of solar energy to other (useful) forms of energy, including electricity, fuel, and heat. It covers light-harvesting technologies including traditional semiconductor photovoltaic devices (PVs), emerging photo voltaics, solar fuel generation via electrolysis, artificial photosynthesis, and related forms of photo catalysis directed at the generation of energy rich molecules.

Solar grid-tie inverters are designed to rapidly disconnect from the grid if the utility grid goes down. This is an NEC requirement that certifies that in the event of a blackout, the grid tie inverter will shut down to avoid the energy it produces from harming any line workers who are sent to fix the power grid.

Grid-tie inverters that are available on the market today use a number of different technologies. The inverters may use the newer high-frequency transformers, conventional low-frequency transformers, or no transformer. Instead of converting direct current directly to 120 or 240 volts AC, high-frequency transformers employ a computerized multi-step process that involves converting the power to high-frequency AC and then back to DC and then to the final AC output voltage.

Solar inverters may be classified into three broad types:

1. Stand-alone inverters, used in isolated systems where the inverter draws its DC energy from batteries charged by photovoltaic arrays. Many stand-alone inverters also integrate integral battery chargers to replenish the battery from an AC source, when available. Normally these do not interface in any way with the utility grid, and as such, are not required to have anti-islanding protection.

2.Grid-tie inverters, which match phase with a utility-supplied sine wave. Grid-tie inverters are designed to shut down automatically upon loss of utility supply, for safety reasons. They do not provide backup power during utility outages.

3.Battery backup inverters are special inverters which areintended to draw energy from a battery, manage the battery charge via an onboard charger, and export excess energy to the utility grid. These inverters are capable of supplying AC energy to selected loads during a utility outage, and are required to have anti-islanding protection.


Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in power conversion

The combination of artificial intelligence and renewable energy seems to be the perfect match of an emerging technology with a maturing industry. Until starting mining asteroids or producing cheap, limitless nuclear fusion energy, it is needed to find ways to conserve resources and make renewable energy systems cheaper and more efficient to manufacture, install and operate. The development of AI-powered solutions for every facet of the renewable’s energy supply chain won’t just make it cheaper to power things like smart security systems.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) concept contains machines learning and acting on data sets without human programming or intervention. With the help of Machine Learning Algorithms, it does prophetic maintenance and energy forecasting. It also ensures extreme yield out of photo voltaic system.

Hybrid Inverters


Hybrid power system

A solar inverter or PV inverter is a type of electrical converter which converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that could be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. It is a critical balance of system (BOS)–component in a photovoltaic system, letting the use of ordinary AC-powered equipment. Solar power inverters have special functions revised for use with photovoltaic arrays, including maximum power point tracking and anti-islanding protection.

An intelligent hybrid inverter or smart grid inverter is a trending generation of inverter for solar applications which uses renewable energy for home consumption, specifically for solar photovoltaic installations. Some see this as a new technology, however in some parts of the world the application of such products has been around since the 1990s. Electricity from solar panels is generated only during the day, with peak generation around midday. Generation fluctuates and might not be synchronized with a load’s electricity consumption. To overcome this gap between what is produced and what is consumed during the evening, when there is no solar electricity production, it is required to store energy for later use and manage energy storage and consumption with an intelligent hybrid (smart grid) inverter. With the development of systems that contain renewable energy sources and rising electricity prices, private companies and research laboratories have developed smart inverters for synchronizing energy production and consumption.

Advanced Hybrid invertors are available which uses artificial intelligence based system which collectively collects the data for period of time like power generated, power used for a particular amount of time.

The innovative electronic architecture of the hybrid inverter and its intelligent management of energy sources make it possible to optimize the life of a solar battery. Unlike the off grid systems that charge almost the entire solar electricity production in batteries before it’s available for use, hybrid invertor stores only the excess production and discharges only the power needed to complement the solar production.

Hybrid Inverters come in varying styles, ratings, functionalities and build qualities to suit different applications. Knowing the application is vital when selecting a Hybrid or Inverter. The technology is being developed from two directions.

Battery based off grid inverters are being further developed for on grid connection (also referred to a multi-mode inverter). Grid tie inverters are being further developed for diverting energy to and from batteries.

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