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R&D 100 Awards

For 42 years, the prestigious R&D 100 Awards, sponsored by R&D Magazine, have been helping companies provide the important initial push a new product needs to compete successfully in the marketplace.

Winning an R&D 100 Award provides a mark of excellence known to industry, government, and academia as proof that the product is one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of the year.

The R&D 100 Awards began in 1963 as the I-R 100s, in keeping with the original name of the magazine, Industrial Research. The sole criterion for winning, according to a description released by the magazine, is “demonstrable technological significance compared with competing products and technologies.” Properties noted by judges include smaller size, faster speed, greater efficiency, and higher environmental consciousness.

The DOE ESS Program has received seven R&D 100 Awards and one I-R 100 Award.

2016 R&D 100 Award
Green Tech Special Recognition

200A PHPBT

200A PHPBT

Technology: Precision High Power Battery Tester (PHPBT)

Developers:

The PHPBT uses high-precision charge/discharge test measurements at up to 200A current to capture electrochemical measurements such as coulombic efficiency with greater accuracy than was previously possible at currents applicable to EV and stationary storage applications. The goal is to detect minute signs of battery degradation earlier than previous testing, providing insight into a battery’s long-term capabilities and enabling engineers to better select feasible technologies from those needing more development.

2015 R&D 100 Award

6.5 kV 60A SiC JFET Half-Bridge Module

6.5 kV 60A SiC JFET Half-Bridge Module

Technology: 6.5 kV Enhancement-Mode Silicon Carbide JFET Switch

Developers:

For the next-generation power-conversion technology to meet the efficiency and reliability demands of integrated renewables and energy storage systems requires using high-voltage SiC devices and reducing current throughout a system, as well as reducing the switching losses.

United Silicon Carbide Inc. and Sandia National Laboratories’ 6.5 kV SiC device and power module — the 6.5kV Enhancement-Mode Silicon Carbide JFET Switch — represents a high-voltage module based on reliable, normally off SiC JFETs. It reduces switching losses over that of Si-IGBTs by a factor of 20, and exhibits the fastest turn-on and turn-off of any 6.5 kV power module.

2011 R&D 100 Award

Technology: Silicon-carbide thyristor

Developers:

Ultra-high-voltage Silicon Carbide Thyristor

Ultra-high-voltage Silicon Carbide Thyristor

A DOE Energy Storage Systems project, managed by Sandia National Laboratories in partnership with GeneSiC Semiconductor Inc., and the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), has developed an Ultra-high-voltage Silicon Carbide Thyristor.

The semiconductor device allows next-generation “smart grid” power electronics system to be built up to 10 times smaller and lighter than current silicon-based technologies. These packaged-power devices are the world’s first commercially available, high-voltage, high-frequency, high-current, high-temperature, single-chip SiC-based thyristors. Their performance advantages are expected to spur innovations in utility-scale power electronics hardware and to increase the accessibility and use of distributed energy resources.

The developers adopted a different operational physics for this device, which operates on minority carrier transportation and an integrated third terminal rectifier, which is one more than other commercial SiC devices. The developers adopted a new fabrication technique that supports ratings above 6,500 V, as well as a new gate-anode design for high-current devices. Capable of performing at temperatures up to 300° C and current at 80 A, the SiC Thyristor offers up to 10 times higher voltage, four times higher blocking voltages, and 100 times faster switching frequency than silicon-based thyristors.

For more information, download the factsheet (PDF, 2.4 mb) or watch the video.

2009 R&D 100 Award

SiC Power Module

SiC Power Module (covered and exposed)

Technology: High-temperature Silicon Carbide (SiC) Power Module

Developers:

The High-temperature Silicon Carbide (SiC) Power Module is a high-temperature 250°C power module implementing silicon carbide power transistors and integrated high-temperature silicon on insulator (HTSOI) gate driver to reduce system electrical loss by less than 50 percent.

Power electronics modules are the core components of all power electronics systems. In essence, power electronics systems convert electrical energy from one form (provided by a source) into another form (consumed by a load). They are required to drive electric motors (such as those for electric and hybrid vehicles), convert energy from renewable sources (i.e., solar arrays or wind generators), and provide power for a wide variety of electronics and electronic systems (DC power supplies and inverters).

The high-temperature silicon carbide power module is the world’s first commercial high-temperature (250°C) silicon carbide-based power electronics module. The 50 kW (kilowatt) (1200 V (volt) /150 A (ampere) peak) silicon carbide (SiC) power modules are rated up to 250°C junction temperature and integrate high-temperature gate drivers.

For more information, download the factsheet (PDF, 2.8 mb).

2003 R&D 100 Awards

Technology: Emitter Turn-Off (ETO) Thyristor Switch

Developers:

Emitter Turn-Off (ETO) Thyristor Switch

Emitter Turn-Off (ETO) Thyristor Switch

The Emitter Turn-Off (ETO) Thyristor Switch (pdf) is an inexpensive, high power/high speed, semiconductor switch for use in high power converters requiring elevated current and reverse voltage blocking capabilities. The ETO is a key enabling technology for Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) for safeguarding the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution.

The ETO features a low gate drive power consumption with high reliability. The gate drive power does not vary significantly with the ETO current and switching frequency, approximately 15-25 watts.

Applications of the ETO include distributed energy resources, energy storage, FACTs, motor drives, and power system protection. The advantages of the ETO include a 5,000 A snubberless turn-off capability, low switching and conduction losses, low-cost device and circuit, ease for series and parallel operation, and built-in overcurrent protection and current sensor.

2003 R&D 100 Awards

Technology: Fiber Optic Electrical Current Transducer

Developers:

Fiber Optic Electrical Current Transducer

Fiber Optic Electrical Current Transducer

The Fiber Optic Electrical Current Transducer is an optical current sensor that measures current, magnetic fields, and ambient/conductor temperature in high-power applications with increased safety, isolation, and lower installation costs than conventional technologies. The FOECT measures the magnetic field surrounding or current flowing through a conductor, simultaneously providing temperature. It was designed to replace existing current transducers in applications ranging from monitoring load currents in electrical power lines to providing feedback information in high-energy power electronic converters.

Developers expanded upon how it is not necessary to completely encircle the conductor that is being monitored. Rather than perform an integration of the magnetic field, the sensor samples a point in the field using an optical crystal at a predetermined location. Through Faraday rotation of the polarized state, developers measured the strength of the magnetic field, extracting the temperature from fluctuations in the rotation angle.

1997 R&D 100 Award

Technology: PQ2000 Power Quality System

Developers:

Transportable PQ2000 BESS

Transportable PQ2000 BESS

The PQ2000 Power Quality System is an easily installed power source that delivers up to 2,000,000 watts for 30 seconds, and it easily can be made mobile.

The PQ 2000 is a battery-based, energy storage and delivery system designed to mitigate the effects of factory-wide power disturbances on sensitive electronic and electrical equipment. It also might mitigate the effects of a power surge, sag or outage on a utility grid.

Rather than acting like a circuit breaker and shutting down a utility line, the PQ2000 monitors the line for voltage sags, swells or momentary interruptions. Sensing something amiss, the PQ2000 transfers the line in one four-hundredths of a second to stored battery energy. This acts as a high-power voltage source for up to 10 seconds before returning the equipment to normal power service as the momentary disturbance passes.

1984 I-R 100 Award

Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage: Development and construction of a 10MVA liquid helium cooled Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES) device by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and deployment to stabilize the 900 mile, ac intertie between BPA and Southern California. (ref: LANL Publication)