The Power engineering program within Electrical and Computer Engineering covers electrical power system control and analysis, power conversion in electric machines, power electronics design and applications, as well as control methodology. Course-work covers topics in-depth and several courses are linked with the Mechanical Engineering department. The premier research facilities are supported by two prominent consortia – PSERC and WEMPEC.
Electric machines are finding ever- expanding applications and continue to be a central focus of research because of the critical role they play in producing and translating electric energy to useful work – most recently in electric vehicle applications. Electric machine research has earned an international reputation during its long history of ground- breaking innovations. Research covers a wide spectrum of topologies from Induction machines to Permanent Magnet machines. New and innovative topologies include axial-airgap machines, double- airgap machines and, more recently, electrostatic machines.
Modeling and development of power converter topologies for a variety of applications is a major research focus. The development of higher-speed power semiconductor switching devices that can reach higher power levels is opening new applications to power electronics and is generating exciting new research opportunities. Ongoing work in this area includes power electronics for high-speed machines and utility grid applications, the introduction of an entirely new approach for high-frequency dc-to-dc power conversion using capacitor coupling, and the introduction of Stored Energy Modulation – which promises to reduce the DC link capacitance to fractions of a microfarad from thousands of microfarads.
Research in advanced controls constitutes another major thrust that ties together advanced machines and power converters. Recent research has concentrated on control methodologies for dead-beat torque and flux control, self-sensing-based control, dynamic loss minimization control, dynamic loss partitioning control, and integration of these controls with next- generation electric machine design. Research is also ongoing into utility grid and energy storage controls and active thermal sensing and control of power electronic devices – with the objective to increase circuit reliability and longevity.
WEMPEC is an internationally renowned power electronics research and electric machines research group located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With the support of our 80+ corporate sponsors, our team of professors, graduate students, and international scholars work together to research and develop the newest technologies and techniques in electric machines, power electronics, actuators, sensors, drives, motion control, and drive applications.