Wolfspeed, NCREPT Make R&D Magazine's Top 100 for Third Time

The National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission is located at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park.
University Relations

The National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission is located at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the third time in seven years, University of Arkansas researchers have been recognized for their contribution to a local electronics company being included in R&D Magazine's list of the world's top 100 technological product innovations.

Wolfspeed, formerly Arkansas Power Electronics International — the largest company affiliated with the University of Arkansas at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park — made the magazine's 2016 top 100 list for its Wide Bandgap Automotive Traction Inverter, an electrical innovation taking energy from battery packs and converting it to power needed to drive the motors of hybrid and electric vehicles. Researchers at the University of Arkansas' National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission were collaborators on the project. The center served as the primary test facility for the product.

"We're very happy for Wolfspeed and proud to be a part of this project," said Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering and executive director of the center. "For me personally, it's extremely gratifying to see Wolfspeed continue to succeed and, really, to be an international leader in innovative technologies for electric and hybrid vehicles."

Wolfspeed's wide bandgap automotive traction inverter converts direct current (DC) stored in the battery pack of a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle to a three-phase alternating current power that energizes one or more electrical loads. Developed with Toyota, the inverter has higher power density and is a smaller, lighter and more efficient system than Toyota's inverter design currently used in the Prius.

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 as Arkansas Power Electronics International in 1999, Wolfspeed specializes in advanced, high-performance electronics for a variety of customers and applications, including the defense, aerospace and hybrid/electric vehicle markets.

In 2014 APEI made the R&D 100 list for its high-performance, silicon carbide-based plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery charger, for which Mantooth's U of A team designed key internal circuitry. Other contributors to that award were Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Cree and Toyota. The company received its first R&D 100 award in 2009 for a high-temperature silicon carbide power module that was the result of a collaboration with the University of Arkansas, Sandia National Laboratories and Rohm Co. Ltd.

Located at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park, the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission is the highest-powered power electronics test facility at any university in the United States.

Mantooth holds the Twenty-First Century Research Leadership Chair in the College of Engineering.

Contacts

Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor
electrical engineering
479-575-4838, mantooth@uark.edu

Matt McGowan, science and research communications officer
University Relations
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu

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