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Power Electronics - A Mechanical Engineering Problem

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Bryn Parry, VP Corporate Development, Amantys, will introduce the audience to the world of Power Electronics and discuss why an electronics company like Amantys needs mechanical engineering resources and skills in the development of its products.

What is Power Electronics?

Electronics is the application of solid-state electronics for the efficient control and conversion of electrical power. Whereas more familiar electronics and microelectronics is used to carry communications or data, with Power Electronics it is power that is handled and controlled. It is used from the very low milliwatt levels needed to operate a mobile phone through to multi-gigawatt powers for high-voltage energy transmission lines between countries. Wherever there is a need to modify a form of electrical energy – i.e. change its voltage, current or frequency – then Power Electronics comes into play.

Power Electronics is a £135 billion direct global market, growing at a rate of 10% per annum. It is an enabling technology that often determines the performance of, and provides the competitive advantage for, much more expensive devices or systems.

For example, choosing a mobile phone or lap-top computer for its battery life is actually a Power Electronics decision, with the battery performance itself just one part of that.

On a bigger scale, Power Electronics typically represents only 6% of the total cost of passenger elevators, yet it is largely responsible for their performance and efficiency. The importance of Power Electronics to the economy is consequently very much greater than its direct market value.

It can be seen that Power Electronics is rarely seen as an end product by the general public, but it does play a critical role in almost all aspects of our daily lives:
  • Renewable energy and the low-carbon economy are very dependent on Power Electronics
  • It is responsible for ensuring the reliability and stability of the whole power-supply infrastructure, and critical to the ‘Smart Grid’ linking all generation and end use, making electricity networks easier to connect into.
  • Our transport system is ever more heavily dependent on Power Electronics, in railways, ships and increasingly cars and aeroplanes
  • Our industrial processes rely upon the control and energy efficiency facilitated by Power electronics
  • The environment, access and transportation within our buildings are controlled and managed using Power Electronics
  • And our homes are proliferated with Power Electronics – in TVs, washing machines, fridges, freezers, cookers, vacuum cleaners, computers, mobile phones and even energy-efficient lighting.

Bryn Parry, VP Corporate Development, AmantysBryn Parry, VP Corporate Development, was previously General Manager of the Development Systems Division at ARM Ltd. Prior to this role he managed the IP licensing business unit for six years. Bryn has previously worked in engineering and application roles at AMD and Mars Electronics. Bryn was one of the founders of Amantys in 2010. The company was formed to commercialise technology from the University of Cambridge and bring it together with intelligent processing techniques from the world of mobile phones.

Amantys Ltd (www.amantys.com) was established in Cambridge in 2010 as an independent power electronics company, Amantys specialises in the delivery of scalable, cost effective solutions to meet the challenges of designing reliable and efficient power conversion in medium and high voltage applications.

Time: Refreshments served from 18.30. Talk starts at 19.00. Ends around 20.30 following questions and discussion.

Venue: Lecture Room 5 (upstairs), Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ (directions). There is limited parking available on site.

Free to attend. Registration not required. All welcome.

This talk is open to the public and is suitable for students and engineers. You are encouraged to bring with you colleagues, friends and family who are interested in engineering and electronics.

This talk is organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire area.

This talk is part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Cambridgeshire Area) series.

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