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Optimised Efficiency and Compact Integration of Drive Unit for Ultra-High-Speed Electric Motors

Project ID: 2228cc1455 (You will need this ID for your application)

Under Offer

Research Theme: Engineering

UCL Lead department: Mechanical Engineering

Department Website

Lead Supervisor: Mehdi Baghdadi

Industry partner: iNetic

Stipend enhancement: £1,000 pa

Project Summary:

High-speed motors hold immense promise in the automotive sector, boasting remarkable power density that bolsters electric vehicle efficiency and range. Importantly, they offer a cost-effective alternative to permanent magnet motors. Nonetheless, developing efficient motor drives for high-speed motors presents a complex and formidable engineering challenge. This project addresses this crucial gap by creating an ultra-efficient high-speed motor drive tailored for fuel cell applications.

The forefront of global efforts to combat climate change revolves around decarbonisation. This project directly contributes to this imperative by integrating the ultra-efficient high-speed motor drive into fuel cell systems, aligning seamlessly with the transition to cleaner energy sources. Fuel cells are well-known for their environmental benefits, and optimising their efficiency through advanced motor drives can significantly reduce carbon emissions, particularly in transportation and power generation. Additionally, the incorporation of sensorless closed-loop control techniques ensures that the motor drive operates optimally under diverse operating conditions, further enhancing energy efficiency and facilitating the decarbonization process.

In this project, a novel topological drive architecture will be introduced, equipped with a high-speed sensorless controller to estimate the motor’s location and speed at high frequencies. This innovation aims to (i) address the burgeoning interest within the power electronics community in the efficient and safe design of high-speed motor drives, (ii) explore an exceptionally efficient and compact bidirectional power converter topology capable of serving DC and AC electrical loads, and (iii) advance our understanding of effectively driving wide-bandgap (WBG) power semiconductor devices. Extensive research collaboration within the power electronics community will encompass converter topologies, high-performance and high-frequency (HF) magnetics design, and WBG power devices and their drive circuitry. Furthermore, cross-disciplinary research in semiconductor fabrication, advanced manufacturing, and control will confront technological challenges head-on. This innovation has the potential to boost industrial competitiveness, creating job opportunities across research, development, manufacturing, and engineering sectors.