IEEE Joint IAS/PELS/IES German Chapter meeting the Austrian Chapters in Innsbruck (Invitation)

Following joint meetings 2011 (Timmelkam) and 2013 (Graz), the Austrian and the German IEEE power electronics communities once again met for a joint meeting. This time, we met in Innsbruck in late October 2019, taking advantage of some warm and sunny late summer days, following an invitation to visit the newly established Innsbruck Power Electronics Lab (i-PEL) of Professor Dr. Petar J. Grbovic.

The first day held a visit to Innio Jenbacher GmbH & Co KG, a leading company in gas-powered combined heat and power units. At Jenbacher, we could see the production of the engines, which may have up to 24 cylinders and up to 10 MW power. Most of the components are finished manually, to achieve the high accuracy required for long-term reliable operation. These units are used for decentralized and very flexible power generation as well as UPS for data centers.

In the evening, the participants met at Stiftskeller restaurant in down-town Innsbruck for socializing until late.

The second day comprised the visit to the University of Innsbruck – Institute of Mechatronics, with different presentations, including presentation both by external speakers and by i-PEL. First, Prof. Clemens Zierhofer, Head of the Institute, presented the Faculty of Technical Sciences, its fields of competences, and the recent investment into electric engineering. As a matter of fact, a number of new professorships have been established, and new degree programs in Electric Engineering have recently started.

Then, Prof. Dr. Krishna Shenai, Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE PELS, gave an inspiring lecture on “Field-Reliability of Compact Power Systems.” First, Dr. Shenai reviewed different technology drivers of the information economy of the 20th century and of the ever increasing energy economy. He emphasized the need to develop miniaturized efficient power systems with “end-of-life” field-reliability to sustain the energy economy. Dr. Shenai then discussed the history and evolution of wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor devices, their potential impact on the development of high-density power conversion systems, the state-of-the-art of reliability assessment of power semiconductor devices by device manufacturers, and the expectations of end-use customers. He illustrated the design and manufacturing of reliable compact computer/telecom power supplies using advanced silicon and WBG power electronics switching devices with a mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) of one million hours, the requirement of today’s reliable internet infrastructure. Dr. Shenai emphasized the need to develop future power systems with similar reliability performances especially when used for smart grid and electric vehicle applications that demand robust power system infrastructures. Such development is challenged by the fragmentation of the power systems supply chains, as well as the high cost and unknown application-level reliability of WBG semiconductor power devices. In his presentation, Dr. Shenai also emphasized the need to update the curricula of power electronics in the various education systems to include reliability of both power system components and power converters, and to bridge the gap between power semiconductor devices and power electronics switching converters. The lecture was followed by a lively discussion between Dr. Shenai and the audience.

Prof. Petar Grbovic, also DL IEEE PELS, followed with a lecture on Power Converter Topologies. He outlined the risk to increasing system complexity by constantly aiming to invent new topologies. He emphasized the need to instead rethink the existing, well-known and well-established topologies to optimize their different performance criteria, using advanced devices, design techniques, and control

Prof. Annette Muetze (Head of the Austrian Chapter) and Prof. Gerd Griepentrog (the German counterpart) reported on the activities of the respective chapters.

The next meeting of the German Chapter will be on 5th/6th of March 2020 in Dresden in order to visit VEM Sachsenwerk GmbH, a manufacturer of special electric machines, and the Helmholtz research center Dresden-Rossendorf.

The next meeting of the Austrian Chapter will be organized around ISPSD 2020, which will be held in Vienna in May 2020.


Andreas Wagener – German Chapter, Vice Chair