Electric Drive Analysis for The Ohio State University

NREL performed thermal management analysis and simulations on a high-performance, high-speed drive—developed by The Ohio State University—that can integrate with electric grids.Photo of a man operating laboratory equipment, specifically a boiling vessel with cooling loops.

This work can be considered as a pilot study for the future generation of energy-efficient, high-power-density, high-speed integrated medium- to high-voltage drive systems.

For the thermal management analysis and simulations, NREL researchers:

  • Developed 3-D, finite element analysis thermal models for commercially available power modules to incorporate into the system design and to identify heat sink requirements
  • Analyzed commercially available air-cooled heat sinks
  • Prepared a preliminary system thermal model and shared system-level impacts of design options for heat sink, fan, and system layouts
  • Developed computational fluid dynamics models to analyze alternative air-cooled, heat-sink designs and fans and optimize system level performance.

The research supported The Ohio State University's project milestone for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office. 


If successful, The Ohio State University's electric drive will significantly advance transformer-less drive technologies for a range of industries and motor applications.

The technical benefits of medium-voltage silicon carbide-enabled power electronic systems are:

  • Increased operating flexibility
  • Improved reliability and resiliency
  • Minimized energy storage requirements
  • Versatility with other technologies.


Learn more about NREL's power electronics and electric machines research capabilities.


NREL collaborated with The Ohio State University to perform thermal analysis on its electric drive. NREL also secured partnership with wide bandgap semiconductors manufacturer, Wolfspeed, to gain access to its newest line of silicon carbide modules.


Multi-Scale Thermal Analysis for Design of SiC-Based Medium Voltage Motor Drive, Proceedings of the ASME International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems (2019)


Sreekant Narumanchi

Group Research Manager III, Mechanical Engineering