Power Electronics Group

Power Electronics Group

Description

The power electronics research group at the University of Waikato, led by Senior Lecturer Nihal Kularatna, focuses on improving the efficiency of power supplies and finding solutions to power quality issues. Nihal has been with the University of Waikato for 5 years after a brief stint at Auckland University and prior to that, 16 years at the Arthur C. Clarke Institute in Sri Lanka where he reached the position of CEO. He has also worked for 6 years as an electronics engineer responsible for navigational aids and 3 years working with digital telephone exchange systems. Nihal is the author of 7 books published in USA and UK in power electronics, instrumentation, circuit design and telecommunications. Nihal and his group are driven by developing creative usable topologies and keeping the half-life of knowledge in power electronics as low as possible.

Expertise

The power electronics research group at the University of Waikato, led by Senior Lecturer Nihal Kularatna, focuses on improving the efficiency of power supplies and finding solutions to power quality issues.

Nihal has been with the University of Waikato for 5 years after a brief stint at Auckland University and prior to that, 16 years at the Arthur C. Clarke Institute in Sri Lanka where he reached the position of CEO. He has also worked for 6 years as an electronics engineer responsible for navigational aids and 3 years working with digital telephone exchange systems. Nihal is the author of 7 books published in USA and UK in power electronics, instrumentation, circuit design and telecommunications.

Nihal and his group are driven by developing creative usable topologies and keeping the half–life of knowledge in power electronics as low as possible.

Objective

The group's research focuses on improving the efficiency of power supplies and finding solutions to power quality issues.

Research Focus

The group's work has four main areas of focus:

  1. Supercapacitor assisted low drop out (SCALDO) techniques – A technique to improve the end to end efficiency of linear DC–DC converters, particularly the high current version suitable for voltage regulator module type applications.
  2. Supercapacitor assisted surge absorption (SCASA) techniques – This work is based on a new technique suitable for surge absorption, making use of the continuous energy absorption capability of super capacitors.
  3. Surge resistant un–interruptible power supply systems (SRUPS) based on supercapacitor energy storage – This technique is aimed at better UPS systems with surge absorption capability. The group are developing initial prototypes to prove the concept of SCs buffering the surges and the technique is applicable to off–the line UPS systems.
  4. AC–AC Power Regulation Technique – This technique is designed to work for mains power supply with loads of approx. 300VA to 5kVA. A microprocessor subsystem is used to control the impedance in a semiconductor array, where the individual elements share the dissipated power and line voltage equally. It produces a clean waveform transmission, fast response and is independent of the load type.
Unique Capability Proposition

Waikato's Power Electronics Group combines a creative approach to circuit design with practical expertise in power supply management, surge protection and power quality control.

Past Successes

The group have secured a US patent for their High Current Voltage Regulator technique and are currently engaged with a commercial partner developing SCASA techniques.