APEI Powers Into R&D 100 for Second Time
APEI’s high-performance, silicon carbide-based plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery charger.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the second time in the company’s history, Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc. has been included in R&D Magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 technological product innovations.
The R&D 100 awards — known as the “Oscars of Innovation” — have included such cutting-edge technologies as the flashcube, the automated teller machine, the fax machine and high-definition television.
Founded in 1999, Arkansas Power Electronics International (APEI) — the largest company affiliated with the University of Arkansas at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park — specializes in advanced, high-performance electronics for a variety of customers and applications, including the defense, aerospace and hybrid/electric vehicle markets.
The magazine based its latest R&D 100 award on APEI’s high-performance, silicon carbide-based plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery charger. At the core of the on-board charger unit is one of APEI’s power modules, which will be released as a standard product later this year. The module’s high-speed switching capability and high-temperature packaging enabled the company to create a battery charger that is more efficient and more powerful than the current commercial technology.
The battery charger represents a major advance in power electronics and meets the increasing demands of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and electric vehicle markets and plays a vital role in allowing these markets to experience continual growth. The new technology developed at APEI can also be utilized across a wide variety of different applications outside of the electric vehicle markets. These include: renewable energy battery charging, distributed grid storage, material handling equipment, boats, handicap mobility vehicles, commercial hybrid vehicles and future military tactical vehicles and systems.
APEI ed the development of the battery charger in a collaborative research partnership that includes four other entities — Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, an academic research center based at the University of Arkansas; Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cree Inc. The collaboration is funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the U.S. Department of Energy.
Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor congratulated the team on its recent award.
“APEI continues to be a leader in technology which pushes the boundaries of what was previously thought possible, as evidenced by their most recent R&D 100 Award,” Pryor said. “Arkansas is proud to have innovative companies, such as APEI, call The Natural State home.”
Arkansas Sen. John Boozman said, “Receiving an R&D 100 award is a major accomplishment that recognizes world-class technology and products. The innovation at APEI can drive technology manufacturing job creation in our state. The APEI team is well deserving of this recognition and I congratulate them for their hard work, dedication and commitment to advancement in power electronics.”
In 2009, APEI received its first R&D 100 award for a high-temperature silicon carbide power module that was the result of a collaboration with the University of Arkansas and Rohm Co. Ltd. The module can greatly reduce the size and volume of power electronic systems.
Ty McNutt, director of business development
Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc.
Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor
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