[Researcher of the Month] Power Electronics: A Way of Providing Cost-Efficient Power Supply
Professor Kim Rae-young (Division of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering)
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Smart devices have become an integral part of our lives. They operate interactively and autonomously, supporting people’s daily lives. Electricity by far provides the main source of convenience. Professor Kim Rae-young (Division of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering) has worked in the field of power electronics to support efficient energy processing.
Power electronics is the study that covers the control and conversion of electric energy. “When electricity is generated, they have unregulated voltage and frequency, and, thus, are not suitable to use,” said Kim. “Power electronics deals with converting raw electric power into the regulated energy that is available to people.”
Traditionally, the electric power grid system has been highly dependent on large-scale power plants, such as thermal or nuclear power plants, with high-capacity power transmission and distribution lines to generate and to deliver power energy for the last hundred decades. “Unfortunately, building this kind of traditional power grid system is almost impossible in the future,” said Kim. “Nobody wants to have these kinds of large-scale power plants or high-capacity power transmission and distribution lines near their home.” This is why Kim has paid special attention to microgrid technology.
A microgrid is a small-scale power grid that can operate independently or collaboratively with other small power grids. “A microgrid provides a personal, local power supply and storage system with multiple and distributed power sources,” said Kim. He aims to build up the microgrid system through the 'Versatile Lego-block Smart Power Electronics Platform.'
Kim’s platform is connecting energy sources in parallel with the capacity of the microgrid. Kim continued his explanation by citing the example of sunlight generation. “When solar farm collects energy via its panels, voltage and frequency may vary according to weather conditions,” said Kim. “By using the Lego-block platform, a microgrid can offer a homogeneous power supply by making use of other sources of energy simultaneously.” Kim expects his platform to corroborate a more cost-effective way of generating power.
Kim wants to expand his research on power electronics in a more practical direction. “I am now working on the 3D space wireless power transmission system,” said Kim. “My goal is to acquire the core technology of cordless charging which shares similarity with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology.” Furthermore, Kim is showing progress in constructing a direct current (DC) electric power transmission system in collaboration with KEPCO (Korea Electric Power Corporation). A DC electric power transmission system is expected to improve the stability and economy of an electric power grid system, which leads to cost-efficiency.
Some people say that what has now been proven was once only imagined. Kim is contributing to the world with innovation as he seeks to provide more convenient, new, and wonderful experiences achieved through power electronics.
Oh Kyu-jin firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Ju-eun
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