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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Research and Development

The Advanced Power Electronics activity focuses on the electric drive system for hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicles. At NREL, we research and develop electronic components and systems that will overcome major technical barriers to commercialization of hybrid, advanced internal combustion, and fuel cell vehicle technologies.

Researchers focus on developing advanced power electronics and electric machinery technologies that improve reliability, efficiency, and ruggedness, and dramatically decrease systems costs for advanced vehicles. To accomplish this, the power electronics team investigates cooling and heating of advanced vehicles by looking at the thermal management of motor controllers, inverters, and traction motors with one- and two-phase cooling technologies.

We also work to advance key components and systems for these vehicles, such as power switches, capacitors, and active filters within the inverter, which condition the transfer of power between the power generation unit (a fuel cell or battery) and the electric motor.

Much of our power electronics research is conducted at the Renewable Power Management Laboratory, located in Golden, Colorado. Here, engineers and scientists can effectively perform experiments on power systems, power electronic circuits, electric machines, and control algorithms.