Houston, TX
21 March 2022, 1:15pm CST (18:15 UTC/GMT)

The APEC Plenary Session continues the long-standing tradition of addressing issues of immediate and long-term interest to the practicing power electronic engineer. The APEC plenary presentations typically have been from invited distinguished professionals.

Following are the keynotes for the APEC 2022 Plenary Session:

Monday, March 21 | 1:15-5:00pm CDT

1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Space M: The Magnetics Universe and Challenges

Alex Gerfer Alex Gerfer
Würth Elektronik eiSos Group

Alexander Gerfer is Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of one of Europe's largest manufacturers of electronic and electromechanical components. Headquartered in Waldenburg, Germany, the company employs around 7,300 people and has manufacturing, logistics, quality and administrative sites in 50 countries. The graduate engineer (FH) for electrical engineering and trained radio and television technician has been with Würth Elektronik since 1997 and started his career classically as a technical sales representative. His knowledge of the many unanswered questions about inductive components as well as his practical experience in power management and the need for standardized power inductors and interference suppression ferrites was the starting point for today's product range of the eiSos Group. He has been instrumental in establishing the company's research and development, product, quality and supply chain management divisions. Alexander Gerfer is a technical book author, lecturer and sought-after keynote speaker. With his experience and creed, he has helped shape the development and direction of Würth Elektronik eiSos as a service-oriented manufacturer and technology promoter.

Abstract: We have a huge variety of inductors and transformers in the magnetics universe. Orders of magnitude in size and power, a large range of application frequencies into the MHz and hundreds of core materials. Is it any wonder that most designers find it hard to navigate through this deep cosmos to find the best solution for their design goal. This presentation will give a comprehensive overview of new, interesting design tools. It will highlight the importance of increased co-operation between research institutes, manufacturers and consultants to overcome existing design barriers. Solutions are around the corner: AI and 3D printing will more and more help us, to build low loss and volume optimized magnetic components.

2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

On the Moon to Stay: Challenges Presented to Power Electronics Technology by Sustained Operations on the Lunar Surface

John H. Scott
Principal Technologist – Power and Energy Storage
NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate

John Scott currently serves as the Principal Technologist for Power and Energy Storage in the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. After beginning his aerospace career in propulsion at TRW, Mr. Scott has served at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for over thirty years in engineering, project management, and supervisory positions in support of the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, Orion, and various Human Exploration study programs. Immediately prior to his current posting, he served as Chief of the Energy Conversion Branch and as Chief Technologist in the Propulsion and Power Division at NASA-Johnson. As Principal Technologist, Mr. Scott leads a nationwide NASA team in advancing the power and energy storage technologies needed to accomplish NASA’s mission in space exploration. Mr. Scott is a published author on spacecraft fuel cell and nuclear power systems. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University and an MS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from UCLA.

Abstract: NASA’s Artemis Program seeks not only to return humans to the Moon for the first time since the 1970’s but also to provide the technological basis for infrastructure that will enable permanent and expanding scientific and industrial exploitation of the Lunar surface. The primary purpose of this infrastructure is to generate and distribute power to a diverse and growing range of scientific and industrial assets, and the keys to success for this function are power management and control circuits that are highly reliable and maintainable for a decade of operation in the extreme thermal, radiation, and dust environment of the Lunar surface. While various combinations of wide band gap semiconductors, electronic devices, circuit topologies, and shielding schemes have been successfully developed for mission environments ranging from low Earth orbit to the Jovian system, power management technology has not been optimized to meet the full combination of mission requirements for the Lunar surface. To accomplish this, NASA requests the dedicated focus of the power electronics industry.

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Energy Access: Challenges, Opportunities, and our Contributions

Jelena Popovic
IEEE Empower a Billion Lives (EBL) II Vice-Chair
Associate Professor
University of Twente, The Netherlands

Jelena Popovic received the Dipl. Ing. degree from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade, Serbia, in 2001, and the Ph.D. degree from the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, in 2005. From 2005 to 2011, she was with the European Center for Power Electronics as a Technology Transfer Coordinator. From 2008 to 2017 she was with the Delft University of Technology as an Assistant Professor. In 2018 she co-founded a start-up in energy access, Klimop Energy. From October 2019, she joined University of Twente as an Associate Professor to develop an energy access programme. She has published over 100 publications in scientific journals, magazines and conferences. She has co-authored strategic research agendas, technology roadmaps and white papers in the fields of energy access, power electronics, energy efficiency, solid state lighting. Her recent interests are bottom-up solutions for energy access, appropriate technology and socio-technical integration. She is a Vice-Chair of the IEEE Empower a Billion Lives Competition and IEEE PELS Technical Committee Energy Access and Off-Grid Systems.

Liuchen Chang
IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) President 
Professor Emeritus,
University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada

Liuchen Chang received B.S.E.E. from Northern Jiaotong University in 1982, M.Sc. from China Academy of Railway Sciences in 1984, and Ph.D. from Queen’ University in 1991. He joined the University of New Brunswick in 1992 and is a Professor Emeritus at UNB. He was the NSERC Chair in Environmental Design Engineering during 2001-2007, and the Principal Investigator of Canadian Wind Energy Strategic Network (WESNet) during 2008-2014. He is a long-time volunteer for IEEE of over 29 years and is the President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society (2021-2022). Dr. Chang was a recipient of CanWEA R.J. Templin Award for his contribution in the development of wind energy technologies, Innovation Award for Excellence in Applied Research in New Brunswick for his contributions in smart grid and renewable energy technologies, and PELS Sustainable Energy Systems Technical Achievement Award for his contributions in distributed energy systems. He is a fellow of Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE). He has published more than 400 refereed papers in journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Chang has focused on research, development, demonstration and deployment of renewable energy based distributed energy systems and direct load control systems.

Abstract: Ensuring universal, affordable and sustainable energy access is one of the biggest societal challenges of our time. Energy poverty has far reaching consequences on health, education and livelihoods for almost 1 billion people with no access to electricity and over 2 billion people with poor and unreliable access. Decentralized approaches, such as solar home systems and minigrids have emerged in response to the shortcomings of centralized grid extension, sparked start-up innovation and are increasingly being integrated in national electrification plans. However, affordability, scalability, quality, interoperability, business models, technology obsolescence and lifecycle sustainability remain challenges. This plenary talk will frame the energy access challenges, benchmark existing solutions, highlight opportunities for the power electronics community, and present the engagement of the IEEE Power Electronics Society with energy access. Flagship initiatives are IEEE Empower a Billion Lives, a recurring global competition aimed at fostering innovation to develop technically, economically and socially viable energy access solutions and IEEE Global Energy Access Forum, a platform to facilitate multistakeholder engagement in discussions on how rapid technology developments, forward leaning policies and new financing mechanisms intersect and can accelerate the development and deployment of scalable solutions for energy access.

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Driving Plasma: Advancing Power Conversion in Critical Semi and Medical Applications

Gideon (Don) van Zyl
Technical Fellow
Advanced Energy

Gideon van Zyl received the B.Eng. and M.Eng. degrees in electronic engineering and the B.Sc.Hons. degree in mathematics from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa in 1985, 1991 and 1996, respectively, and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. He was with Reutech Radar Systems, Stellenbosch, South Africa from 1987 to 1998 and has been with Advanced Energy Industries, Fort Collins, CO, USA, since 2001 where he holds the position of Technical Fellow. He has been awarded 39 patents to date. His interests include nonlinear systems, RF systems and circuits, and control and measurement systems.

Abstract: Plasma processing is well established and known in semiconductor wafer manufacturing and for creating highly engineered coatings in advanced industrial applications. The ability to precisely power and drive plasma loads has also enabled electrosurgical applications. For the power electronics engineer, plasma loads present unique challenges, including wide swings in load impedance, the highly nonlinear and time-varying nature of the load, arcing, and the difficulty in precisely measuring and controlling power delivery. In the semiconductor industry, higher etch rate requirements for 3D memory devices result in ever-increasing power being applied to bias the workpiece. This results in severe modulation of the plasma impedance creating problems for other generators that are also coupled to the plasma load. In medical applications, where a small plasma is created at the tip of a powered electrosurgical probe to cut and ablate tissue, challenging plasma impedance variations create the same challenge for power delivery and control. We will show how advances in power electronics devices, circuits, and measurement and control are enabling advanced plasma processing.


4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

History of PSMA Power Technology Roadmap: from AAA TripTik® to Google Maps®

Ritu Sodhi
PSMA Roadmap Committee
Consultant, Power Transistor R&D

Dr. Ritu Sodhi (Senior Member, IEEE) received her MS and Ph.D. degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, in 1992 and 1995, respectively. She has been leading R&D teams at multiple power semiconductor companies for over 25 years. During these years, Dr. Sodhi has made strong technical contributions in power semiconductor device design and technology development with over 30 publications, 6 patents and several awards. Prior to joining ROHM Semiconductor as a consultant, Dr. Sodhi worked at Empower Semiconductor where she set up an Analog & Power design team focused on building solutions for high frequency DC-DC voltage regulators. Before that, she worked at International Rectifier for twelve years and at Fairchild Semiconductor for seven years. At both places, she led teams to develop advanced application specific power devices that set the performance standard in the industry for mobile, computing, automotive and communication applications. Dr. Sodhi also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at IIT Bombay for five years.

Abstract: Our success as individuals, as companies, and as institutions, depends on anticipating and being equipped to deal with the future. To help the power electronics industry in this endeavor, PSMA published its first Power Technology Roadmap (PTR) in 1994 using a collaborative approach. A lot has changed since then in our industry and in the way that we do the roadmapping. Along with increased participation from the community, our methodology has adapted to the times to stay relevant, with an aim to provide wide ranging perspectives to the growth and evolution of power conversion technology. In this talk, we will walk down memory lane and track the evolution of the PSMA PTR –from a single, in-person, roundtable event in the early years to a multidimensional, multimedia, multiyear activity to track key trends across a broad variety of power conversion markets. See how the community anticipated industry trends such as efficiency, digital control and the shift from silicon to wide bandgap materials. And revisit what we got wrong. The PTR will continue to evolve. Find out how it can continue to be useful to you or better yet, how you can help chart the next 30 years of the industry!


4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Inverters for the Future Grid – Challenges and Opportunities

Deepakraj (Deepak) Divan
Professor, John E Pippin Chair, GRA Eminent
Director, GT Center for Distributed Energy, ECE
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Deepak Divan does research in the areas of power electronics, power systems, smart grids, and distributed control of power systems. He works closely with utilities and industry and is actively involved in research, teaching and entrepreneurship. Dr. Divan has started several companies, including Varentec in Santa Clara, CA, which was funded by leading green-tech Venture Capital firm Khosla Ventures and renowned investor Bill Gates. He has founded or seeded several new ventures including Soft Switching Technologies, Innovolt, Varentec and Smart Wires, which together have raised >$160M in venture funding. Dr. Divan is an elected Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, member of the National Academies Board on Energy and Environmental Systems and NASEM Committee on the Future Grid. He a Fellow of the IEEE, past President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, is a recipient of the IEEE William E Newell Field Medal and is Chair of the IEEE Empower a Billion Lives global competition to develop scalable energy access solutions.

Abstract: Hundreds of gigawatts of PV solar, wind and storage are being deployed globally on the grid every year. Over the next 5-10 years, millions of geo-dispersed inverters will replace the rotating synchronous generators that are the heart of today’s grid. These inverters will have to work together collectively and autonomously to also form and sustain the grid as an ecosystem and will have to do so without causing stability issues or interacting with each other or with other grid elements. This will require new hardware, software and control principles. It will also drive the industry towards multiport power converters that are flexible, modular and scalable, and which can simultaneously and safely interface with PV solar, batteries, generators and loads, managing power flows between various sources/loads and ensuring stable operation under normal, transient and fault conditions. Fast-moving technologies, lagging standards, diverse communications protocols, cybersecurity issues, hundreds of inverter vendors, and hundreds of grid codes to comply with, pose a very challenging set of issues – but they need to be solved soon. Availability of a next generation inverter for the future grid can be a key factor in addressing climate change and saving the only planet that we have.

*speakers, times, and topics subject to change.