NREL Power Electronics Researcher Wins ASME Avram Bar-Cohen Memorial Medal

June 5, 2023 | By Anna Squires | Contact media relations

Portrait of Sreekant Narumanchi
Sreekant Narumanchi, who leads NREL’s world-class power electronics and electric machines research, has been awarded the ASME Avram Bar-Cohen Memorial Medal for his contributions to the fields of thermal management, power electronics, and electric machines. Photo by Werner Slocum, NREL 

Sreekant Narumanchi, who leads the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) advanced power electronics and electric machines research, has been awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Avram Bar-Cohen Memorial Medal. Granted to a single individual each year, the medal recognizes Narumanchi’s deep contributions to the fields of thermal management, power electronics, and electric machines.

Named for Avram Bar-Cohen, an internationally renowned scholar of microelectronics packaging, the award recognizes an individual’s pioneering leadership, service, and technical contributions to the field of heat transfer and electronics, photonics, mechanics, and packaging phenomena.

Narumanchi was recognized for his significant technical contributions to the power electronics and electric machines research field, which have included more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers, numerous patents, and thousands of citations. He has earned an outstanding reputation both nationally and internationally for contributions in heat transfer and thermal management, which are considered foundational to his field.

Narumanchi’s research on cooling technologies and interface materials has been implemented in commercial electric-drive vehicle power electronics, including power electronics within the Chevy Volt, Delphi Technologies’ industry-leading Viper power switch, the silicon carbide wide-bandgap inverter developed and commercialized by Wolfspeed, and the silicon carbide wide-bandgap inverter implemented by John Deere in the 644K Hybrid Loader. He has also influenced the designs of numerous other suppliers and original equipment manufacturers.

And his team at the Department of Energy's NREL, the Advanced Power Electronics and Electric Machines research group, has established a leading national reputation for their contributions to thermal management for power electronics and electric machines within vehicles. Over Narumanchi’s two decades at NREL, the group has collaborated with nearly 75 institutions, including industry partners, national laboratories, research laboratories, and universities.

“If you know Sreekant, then you know how humble he is about his accomplishments. But he’s one of the last people who should be,” said Chris Gearhart, director of NREL’s Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences, of which Narumanchi’s group is a part. “Sreekant is not just highly respected in the field of power electronics; he has earned a reputation for total dedication to excellence. Even a short summary of his accomplishments, from commercialized technologies to citations, speaks volumes. We are very glad to see him recognized at this level.”

In addition to technical contributions, Narumanchi was also honored for his leadership. He serves as chair of the IEEE Electronic Packaging Society’s Thermal-Mechanical Technical Committee. He is an ASME fellow, an IEEE senior member, and an associate editor for the ASME Journal of Electronic Packaging and IEEE Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technologies. He serves on two advisory boards: the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS), and the External Advisory Board of the Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. And in recent years, he has also chaired InterPACK, the flagship international conference for ASME’s Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division.

“Sreekant is an outstanding leader at NREL, in the power electronics research field, and in efforts to decarbonize transportation nationwide,” said Johney Green, NREL's associate laboratory director for Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences. “We’re very proud to see his pioneering research recognized at the national level.”

Narumanchi will be presented with the award at the 2023 ASME InterPACK Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, California, this October.

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Tags: Transportation,Staff Profile,Manufacturing