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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R036799/1
Title: Enhancement of Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) for Wireless EV Charging
Principal Investigator: Long, Dr T
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Advanced Technology & Materials (AT&M) Dynex Semiconductor (CRRC Times UK) McLaren Group
University of Auckland
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 June 2018 Ends: 31 May 2020 Value (£): 211,970
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electric Motor & Drive Systems Power Electronics
Transport Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Apr 2018 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 11 and 12 April 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The decarbonisation of road transport through the use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), including electric vehicles (EVs), is seen as critical to helping the UK achieve its climate change obligations and to improving air quality, particularly in major cities such as London. However, state-of-the-art batteries for EVs show much lower energy density compared to fossil fuels (240 Wh/kg energy density of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, 2% of petrol's energy density), which significantly compromises the driving range. Without foreseeable breakthroughs (4 times energy density increase by 2035) in battery technology, frequent and convenient battery charging is the only way to enable EVs as the dominant means of decarbonised transportation.

Most current fast and rapid charging process for EVs requires drivers to connect the tethered electrical outlet to the vehicle, leaving drivers prone to hazards. Limited charging opportunities cause a long dwell time of each recharge and range anxiety. In contrast, energy can be transferred between the primary source side (on-ground) to the secondary battery side (on-board) by using time-varying magnetic fields through the air, known as the inductive power transfer (IPT). The absence of physical connection offers unobtrusive and hassle-free charging. The paradigm will shift from infrequent lengthy charging at centralised charging hubs to distributed charging places conducting charging automatically. Therefore, charging events can be seamlessly integrated into regular vehicle operation and becomes part of daily background life thus plug-in forgetfulness will never happen again. The long lead-time and large cost of upgrading infrastructure for centralised charging hubs can be reduced and frequent charging reduces the discharge depth, which extends the lifetime of the battery. Lack of human intervention of IPT can enable future autonomous EV operation and charging other machines such as robots, unmanned aerial or underwater vehicles (UAVs, UUVs).

This research is the first to use nanocrystalline cores based coils for IPT applications and also the first to combine frequency and duty ratio control with a dual-active bridge topology (DA-IPT). New control algorithms, such as MinAPPT and hard-switching mitigation techniques, will be explored, together with the use of SiC MOSFETs in both the inverter and rectifier of DA-IPT to improve the power density and efficiency in misaligned charging conditions. A multi-objective design optimisation process using a combined DA-IPT topology and nanocrystalline core based coils will designed and continuously improved for future development and other relevant power electronics research.

The research aims to achieve 92% efficiency or above, at 30% vertical and lateral misalignment with a power density of 2 kW/kg, 4 kW/dm3 or above. A 7.7 kW (Level 2 EV charging) prototype will be built and experimentally validated with deliverables such as simulation models and design tools. An 11 kW prototype is the next step with potential industrial investment. The success of this research will exploit and validate the theoretical merits from proposed ideas and establish a solid foundation for continuous investigation, including bi-directional power flow for V2G, improvement of mechanical robustness, EMC and objective rejection methods of applicable DA-IPT systems in the future.

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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk