Next Generation Power Electronics

JDES SiC Inverter

John Deere Electronic Solutions (JDES) greatly appreciates the Department of Energy (DOE) funding through PowerAmerica Institute at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. This DOE funding has enabled JDES to carry out research and development work for the next generation of power electronics, evaluating the potential use of wide bandgap (WBG) power devices such as silicon carbide (SiC) power modules.

JDES anticipates a SiC-based inverter can provide overall system benefits in off-road applications, including vehicle efficiency and fuel savings, comparable to data published in SAE Off-Highway Engineering magazine issues dated February 2016 [Ref 1] and February 2013 [Ref 2]. For example, the John Deere 644K Hybrid Loader is a construction machine that currently uses an IGBT- (insulated gate bipolar transistor) based inverter in its hybrid drivetrain. This loader offers up to 25% fuel saving as compared to a conventional 644K loader.

The proposed SiC inverter under development through PowerAmerica funding could potentially outperform IGBT-based inverters that are currently commercially available for certain construction and other off-road machines. Additional information including benefits of the SiC technology for off-highway vehicles is also published in IEEE Electrification magazine, issue June 2014 [Ref 3].

References

[1] Bruce Morey, “Off-Highway Hybrids: Opportunities and challenges,” SAE Off-Highway Engineering, magazine.sae.org/ofh, pp. 16 – 18, February 2016

[2] Jean L. Broge, “Deere’s first hybrid construction machine,” SAE Off-Highway Engineering, magazine.sae.org/ofh, February 11, 2013

[3] Brij N. Singh, Kent D. Wanner, and Zimin Vilar, “Novel and ruggedized power electronics for off-highway vehicles,” IEEE Electrification Magazine, pp. 31-41, June 2014