Power Electronics : The Enabling Discipline
Kennedy, Professor Robert T.
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It may come as a surprise to know that the major element in the purchase price of products is not the basic material but the electrical energy costs of manufacturing, transportation to the sale point, heating or cooling and lighting the shops, and even the production of gasoline for the worker’s cars. The main theme of the presentation is the need for more efficient usage of electricity. Electricity accounts for approximately 40% of all the energy used of which over 50% is used in inefficient (80%) ‘all-on’ ‘all-off’ electromechanically controlled electric motors. More efficient processes and products would have a major impact on conserving natural resources, reducing electricity bills and by making the products more affordable raise the worldwide standard of living that in turn is inversely proportional to the cost of energy. Power electronics technology conversion of the ‘raw energy’ from the public utility to the form required by the load is the enabler of most industrial loads and equipment. The presentation highlights some of the application areas where power electronics increases the efficiency of the power conversion process to create around 30% savings of the world’s energy. The second aspect of the presentation is electical power quality as its play such an integral part of our way of life, and without it the wheels of industry grind to a halt and Business-Commerce are crippled. The electrical transmission and distribution system has a high level of reliability but it would be uneconomical to attempt to improve power quality at the supply stage to meet the requirements of the digital society. Disturbances such as small voltage sags or surges that can severely effect production processes and lead to major financial losses due to lost production cannot be totally avoided. The presentation identifies some of the power electronics mitigation equipment that is the enabler to protect the customer from loosing plant output due to power supply disturbances.
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