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on Electronics for Sustainable Energy

Presentations And Downloads
About The Chapter


The IEEE Colorado Symposium on Electronics for Sustainable Energy was held on Saturday, 17 May 2008 at the Marriott Hotel in Boulder. More than 100 people turned out for 12 great presentations that showcased Colorado and the Front Range as a leader in developing technology for sustainable and renewable electric energy.

The table below shows the overall program of the day. Click on the title of a presentation to see a description of the presentation, the speaker's biography, and link to download the presentation in PDF format.
Symposium Poster

Symposium At A Glance

Session 1, Montrachet Ballroom, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
9:00 AM Welcoming Remarks
9:10 AM Solar Photovoltaics Technology: The Beginning of the Revolution
10:10 AM Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory
10:40 AM Morning Break
11:00 AM Photovoltaic System Integration
12:00 PM Training Engineers For Renewable Energy Challenges
Lunch Break, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Session 2: Montrachet Ballroom A, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM
2:00 PM The Potential Of Photovoltaics
2:45 PM Economics for Photovoltaic Systems in Colorado
3:15 PM Afternoon Break
3:30 PM Should I Get A Solar Array For My House?
4:00 PM Design Characteristics of High Power Grid-Tie Photovoltaic Inverters
Session 3, Montrachet Ballroom B, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM
2:00 PM LEDs For General Illumination - A Disruptive Technology
2:45 PM Vehicle To Grid Becomes Reality
3:15 PM Afternoon Break
3:30 PM Moving Energy To The User
4:00 PM Modular Power Electronics For Renewable Distributed Energy

Program Details

Session 1
Montrachet Ballroom
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Solar Photovoltaics Technology: The Beginning of the Revolution

Lawrence L. Kazmerski

National Center for Photovoltaics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Download Presentation (15.4 MB!)

The prospects of current and coming solar-photovoltaic (PV) technologies are envisioned, arguing this solar-electricity source is at a tipping point in the complex worldwide energy outlook. The co-requirements for policy and technology investments are strongly supported. The emphasis of this presentation is on R&D advances (cell, materials, and module options), with indications of the limitations and strengths of crystalline (Si and GaAs) and thin-film (a-Si:H, Si, Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2, CdTe). The contributions and technological pathways for now and near-term technologies (silicon, III-Vs, and thin films) and status and forecasts for next-generation PV (organics, nano-technologies, non-conventional junction approaches) are evaluated. Recent advances in concentrators with efficiencies headed toward 50%, new directions for thin films (20% and beyond), and materials/device technology issues are discussed in terms of technology progress. Insights into technical and other investments needed to tip photovoltaics to its next level of contribution as a significant clean-energy partner in the world energy portfolio. The need for R&D accelerating the now and imminent (evolutionary) technologies balanced with work in mid-term (disruptive) approaches is highlighted. Moreover, technology progress and ownership for next generation solar PV mandates a balanced investment in research on longer-term (the revolution needs revolutionary approaches to sustain itself) technologies (quantum dots, multi-multijunctions, intermediate-band concepts, nanotubes, bio-inspired, thermophotonics, …) having high-risk, but extremely high performance and cost returns for our next generations of energy consumers. This presentation provides insights (some irreverent, some entertaining) into how this technology has developed-and where we can expect to be by this mid-21st century.

Larry Kazmerski is the Director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado. He received his B.S.E.E. in 1967, M.S.E.E. in 1968, and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1970-all from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Kazmerski has published over 300 journal papers in the areas of solar cells, thin films, semiconductor materials and devices, surface and interface analysis, molecular beam epitaxy, semi-conductor defects, scanning probe microscopy, nanoscale technology, high-temperature superconductivity, solar and photovoltaics technologies, and solar hydrogen. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), a Fellow of the AVS, and a Fellow of the International Energy Foundation (IEF).

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Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory

David Hiller

Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory

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This presentation will introduce the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, established in February 2007, is a research partnership among the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Colorado's premier research universities - Colorado State University, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado School of Mines.

The Collaboratory works with public agencies, private enterprise, nonprofit institutions and all of Colorado's universities and colleges to:

  • Increase the production and use of energy from renewable resources like wind energy, solar energy, and biofuels
  • Support economic growth in Colorado and the nation with renewable energy industries
  • Build a renewable energy economy in rural Colorado and rural America
  • Establish Colorado as America's leading center of renewable energy research and production
  • Educate our nation's finest energy researchers, technicians and work force

David Hiller is the Executive Director of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory.

Before joining the Collaboratory, David served as State Issues Counsel for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar. In that position, David served as both a policy advisor and a representative for the Senator on natural resources, public lands and environmental issues, with special emphasis on renewable energy. Among other duties, David was one of the coordinators of Senator Salazar's 2006 and 2007 renewable energy summits.

David has a law degree from the University of Michigan. After law school, David practiced for one year in the Solicitor's Office of the U.S. Department of the Interior and for 23 years in Denver, Colorado.

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Photovoltaic System Integration

Jeff Scott

Colorado Renewable Energy Society and Solsource, Inc.

Download Presentation (3.9 MB)

This presentation will cover site considerations for solar electric system installation, system design engineering, product specification, monitoring and commissioning. The focus will define the requirements of Amendment 37 and best practices for installation based on NEC 690 and NABCEP. Emerging solar technologies will also be review including the latest Colorado solar manufacturers to join the market.

Jeff Scott traces his commitment to high-performance buildings back to his seven years living in Japan during the 1990s. While there, he began his research into green building practices and was impressed by the country's whole systems construction methods. Upon returning to the U.S., Jeff began linking his belief in sustainable design to strong environmental values and business skills and founded SolSource in 2003. Jeff lives in a Green retro-fitted 100 year old Near Zero Energy Home north of Denver. He has served as Secretary, Vice President and is currently the President of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society. He sits on the Earthworks advisory board to bring sustainable living to the mainstream in Denver. Jeff holds two B.A.'s (Business and Computer Science) from Miami University of Ohio.

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Training Electrical Engineers For Renewable Energy Challenges

Dragan Maksimovic

University of Colorado-Boulder

Download Presentation (1.5 MB)

The need for Electrical Engineers ready to take on new challenges and bring innovations to present and future energy systems is expected to grow. The goals of the University of Colorado-Boulder's ECE Department's Energy Program are to address the growing interests and technical engineering needs in renewable energy sources and efficient energy utilization. The focus is on electrical engineering fundamentals and technical depth in the context of energy systems. An overview of the complete program is given first, followed by presentations about recent new course developments. A new introductory sophomore-level course in Renewable Sources and Efficient Electrical Energy Systems, first offered in Spring 2008, assumes minimum prerequisites but covers an introduction to electrical power system, photovoltaic power systems, wind power systems, energy efficiency, and hybrid electric vehicles in significant technical depths. A completely redesigned senior-level Power Electronics and Photovoltaic Power Systems Laboratory introduces analysis, modeling, design, and testing of electrical energy processing systems in a practical laboratory setting including hands-on design and fabrication of power electronic converters, and testing of a complete solar power system. The presentation concludes with a summary of the educational program directions and links to more advanced power electronics and microelectronics courses as well as current research activities.

Dragan Maksimovic received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and the Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1984, 1986, and 1989, respectively. Since 1992 he has been with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he is currently a Professor and Co-Director of the Colorado Power Electronics Center (CoPEC). Prof. Maksimovic is a recipient of NSF CAREER Award, Power Electronics Society Transactions Prize Paper Award, Bruce Holland Excellence in Teaching Award, and University of Colorado Inventor of the Year Award. His current research interests include digital control techniques and mixed-signal integrated circuit design for power electronics.

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Session 2
Montrachet Ballroom A
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

The Potential Of Photovoltaics

Marc Landry

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Download Presentation (5.6 MB!)

Photovoltaics (PV) is the direct conversion of light to electricity. Electricity is the most expensive type of energy to produce, and PV is the most expensive of the viable technologies that generate electricity. Mostly because of these economics, the total contribution of PV to world electricity production is almost insignificant. However, the total global solar resource is more than large enough to power a sustainable electrical generation system for the world. The alternatives to PV are tied to finite resources which are not sustainable (e.g., fossil fuels), or do not have the potential to meet the growing needs of world electricity consumption (e.g., hydroelectric), or are security and safety hazards (e.g., nuclear), or emit green house gases (e.g., methane hydrates). When political, sociological, environmental, and sustainability issues are factored with the economics, PV becomes one of the most favorable technologies. There continues to be technological hurdles to overcome before PV will be a dominant technology in world electricity production. These include increasing cell efficiency while decreasing costs, and solving energy storage and distribution issues. PV has a long way to go to fully live up to its potential. However, the potential of PV is starting to be realized. The PV industry has enjoyed rapid growth during the last several years, especially outside the United States. In this presentation we will provide an overview of the various PV technologies and components, how those technologies are being used, and what the future could hold.

Marc Landry has been involved in the technology side of the PV business for over 25 years. He has been at NREL for the past 15 years as an Engineer/Master Research Technician, where he designs, builds, and modifies various systems and equipment used at the National Center for Photovoltaics. He was previously with R&D Systems Group at Glasstech Solar, Inc and Materials Research Group. He has also been involved with four different PV manufacturing startup companies, involving both silicon PV and thin film PV technology.

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Economics for Photovoltaic Systems in Colorado

Jeff Scott

Colorado Renewable Energy Society and Solsource, Inc.

Download Presentation (1.6 MB)

As the demand for solar electric systems continues expand, more supply is coming on the market. Continuing to mainstream the installation of PV systems for both homes and businesses brings out more questions about payback, ROI and financing options for these traditionally expensive products. The presentation will go into the costs and benefits available to savvy investors in distributed generation systems.

See Session 1 for Jeff's biographical information.

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Should I Get A Solar Array For My House?

Steven Johnson

Lockheed Martin

Download Presentation (320 kB)

Many of us are wondering if we should put a solar panel on our roof. With Colorado's sunny climate, it seems like a great thing to do. But what does it really take? This presentation will look at the challenges, obstacles, costs and rewards of putting a solar photovoltaic panel on one's house, as told form the homeowner's point of view. Steven Johnson is a Colorado Homeowner with an interest in installing a residential solar power system. He has a MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a power electronics emphasis. Steven has 20 years of industry experience in power electronics design including 5 years with companies developing micro-turbines and fuel cell power generators. Most recently he has been working on spacecraft and autonomous airship power systems.

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Design Characteristics of High Power Grid-Tie Photovoltaic Inverters

Eric Seymour

Advanced Energy Industries

Download Presentation (1 MB)

The high power grid-tie inverter market has, until recently, seen a plateau of equipment performance that, while characteristic of the conservative nature of the PV integration industry itself, incorrectly suggested a state of technical maturity for power conversion products used in the industry.

Recently debuted products demonstrate a significant technological jump in areas of high power engine design, cooling and control. This has resulted in a dramatic, and unanticipated, improvement in power conversion efficiency, cost, reliability, physical compactness, audible noise and breadth of application space regarding the design and construction of PV facilities in general.

This presentation will address how multiple advanced design features were combined to achieve the aforementioned benefits in what is presently the most efficient commercially available PV inverter ever listed on the California Energy Commission's list of inverters approved for sale in the state of California.

Eric Seymour is responsible for the new development of power conversion products intended for use in the photovoltaic power industry. He is also Advanced Energy's lead designer for power conversion products above 100 kW. His present areas of research include high power active rectifier / inverter control and engine design.

Prior to joining Advanced Energy, he worked as an engineer for Baker Instrument Company and Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation. Mr. Seymour holds a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and bachelor's degree from Clarkson University, both in electrical engineering. He is a Senior Member of IEEE.

Session 3
Montrachet Ballroom B
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

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LEDs for General Illumination - A Disruptive Technology

Fred Greenfeld

Intersil Corporation

Download Presentation (800 kB)

Illumination, whether coming from the incandescent light bulb or the city street light, is coming under increasing pressure for efficiency and reliability improvements due to higher operating and maintenance costs. This paper describes the state of existing lighting and the progression away from incandescent, HID, and fluorescent lighting to white LED lighting, and the design challenges required to apply this emerging technology. In particular, how do you power billions of LEDs without degrading power quality on the AC mains, allow compatibility with existing lighting infrastructure, and still permit low cost compact solutions.

Fred Greenfeld is responsible for the specification, architecture, and development of power management integrated circuits for isolated and AC mains power conversion applications at Intersil Corporation.

Prior to joining Intersil, Fred has held design positions at Artesyn Technologies, AT&T Bell laboratories, IBM, and Unisys. He has over 28 years of power supply design experience and holds a B.S. in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, both from Duke University in Durham, NC. He has been a member of the IEEE since 1979.

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Vehicle To Grid (V2G) Becomes Reality

Davide Andrea

Hybrids Plus

Download Presentation (690 kB)

In 2006 the public became suddenly aware of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) as an astute solution to environmental issues, international politics and peak oil fears. Today, electric power utilities are suddenly very interested in PHEVs: not only are PHEVs going to need electricity for charging, but they might also be able to send electricity back to the grid during times of peak electrical demand. Eventually, a fleet of some 1000 V2G capable PHEVs in a metropolitan market will be sufficient to offset the need for an additional power plant. The technology allowing a vehicle to send electricity back to the grid is known as V2G (Vehicle To Grid). After various organizations spent years studying and simulating V2G, in 2007 Xcel Energy's decided to put theory into practice, by ordering a small fleet of V2G capable PHEVs. This is the story of that project. This presentation will:

  • Touch upon PHEVs in general and V2G in particular: the technology, the environmental and political impacts
  • Address some of the common concerns and misconceptions of PHEVs and V2G
  • Describe the technical and regulatory challenges related to V2G, and the solutions that were implemented
  • Report on the present status of the automotive industry's approach to PHEVs and V2G technology
  • Contrast V2G to V2H (Vehicle To Home)
  • Recount the history of the Xcel V2G project, and report on its current status

As a special bonus, a V2G car from Excel Energy was on site for show and tell throughout the day.

Davide Andrea is the VP of Engineering for Hybrids Plus. He is a founder and principal designer for the control and power electronics and software used in the Hybrids Plus PHEV and V2G systems. He has been in the electronics design business since 1976. He has a B.S. in Electronics from the University of Colorado. His career has been in the design of controllers and software for electromechanical devices for the consumer products market.

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Moving Energy To The User

Robert F. Wilson

Energy Systems Engineer

Download Presentation (3.1 MB)

A major portion of Colorado's New Energy Economy involves transporting renewable energy from good production sites to users in towns, cities and Front Range communities. Renewable energy from wind farms and solar parks is produced with the help of power electronics to regulate such quantities as real power, reactive power, power factor, and voltage magnitude.

This presentation will give a high-level overview of major proposed high-voltage transmission projects from wind- and solar-rich regions in Colorado and Wyoming to major load centers in Denver and elsewhere. Some projects discussed will be the proposed Wyoming-Colorado Intertie, Electric Plains Transmission Project, High Plains Express, and others.

Robert E. Wilson studied electric engineering at the University of Nebraska (B.S.E.E. in 1969), earned several advanced degrees in engineering and mathematics, and completed the Ph.D. at the University of Idaho in 1992 Bob was the first Nicholson Visiting Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Wyoming from 1992-1994. He has worked over twenty-eight years in many specialties within power systems engineering and is a registered Professional engineer in the state of Colorado. He currently is employed by the Western Area Power Administration, US DOE.

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Modular Power Electronics for Renewable Distributed Energy

Sudipta Chakraborty and Bill Kramer

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Due to increased attention towards clean and sustainable energy, distributed energy systems are gaining more popularity all over the world. Power electronics is an integral part of these energy systems to convert generated electricity into consumer usable and utility compatible forms. The addition of power electronics adds costs to the capital investments along with some reliability issues. Therefore, for the widespread use of distributed resources require power electronics topologies that are cheaper and dependable. Use of modular power electronics is a way to address these issues. Adoption of functional building blocks that can be used for multiple applications results in high volume production, and reduced engineering effort, design testing, onsite installation and maintenance work for specific customer applications. In this paper, different power electronics topologies are discussed that are typically used for distributed energy systems. The integrated power electronics module (IPEM) based back-to-back converter topologies are found to be most suitable interface that can operate with different DE systems with small or no modifications. Also the requirement of hierarchical control structure with standardized power and communication interfaces is addressed in the paper along with some discussions in the future design possibilities for the IPEM based power electronics topologies. It is expected that with modular and flexible power electronics and standardized control and interfaces, will provide commonality in hardware and software for the power electronics interfaces, thus will enable volume production and decrease their cost share in the distributed energy applications.

Sudipta Chakraborty received the B.E. degree in electrical engineering from Bengal Engineering College (now Bengal Engineering and Science University), Shibpur, India, in 2001 and the Ph.D. degree in engineering systems, electrical specialty, from Colorado School of Mines, Golden, in 2007. After his Ph.D., Sudipta joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a post-doctoral researcher and is currently working on several power electronics related projects.

Bill Kramer received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University in 1982 and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Controls Systems from Colorado State University in 1994. Bill has been with NREL since 2001. His prior experience includes HP, Lockheed Martin, and Trane. He currently works at NREL's Electric Systems Center as a Senior Engineer II. His current research includes: Modular power electronics for distributed energy applications, mobile hybrid power systems, vehicle to grid power electronics, automated power switching, hydrogen production from wind resources, power electronics for smart grid applications and energy storage for distributed energy and renewable energy applications.

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Original: 16 April 2008, Modified: 21 May 2008