ProjectEfficient Air Cleaning with SiC Power Electronics

Efficient Air Cleaning with SiC Power Electronics

Several types of industrial processes like power plants, paper mills, and metal processing plants generate flue gases containing considerable amounts of particles. In order protect the environments from these pollutants, these particles must be separated from gas and collected. An effective way to achieve this is to employ electrostatic precipitators, in which the particles are charged such that they can be collected on a collection plate. In order to achieve this, a high-voltage source (approx.100 kV, 100 kW) is required.

GE Power Sweden (in Växjö) is one of the leading manufacturers of such equipment with a significant share of global market. Worldwide, approximately 100000 units are installed with a total annual energy consumption of approximately 100 TWh (roughly corresponding to the total electricity production in Sweden). Because of the high energy consumption of these particle filters it is of highest importance that the electrical efficiency of these units is as high as possible. Even a one-percent efficiency increase enables significant energy savings, and in case the electricity for this purpose is produced from coal, large reductions in CO2 emissions can be achieved.

Energy efficiency of the SiC based system can be made as high as 99%. This gives environmental advantages due to the electric energy savings. Higher energy efficiency results in lower operational cost of the installations and the reduced payback time when replacing the older system with the SiC based one. This could greatly accelerate the process of modernization of the system population. This in turn would create large environmental gains due to the fact that modern SiC based systems are also more efficient in particle removal due to greater uniformity of the particle charging and removal process. Finally SiC based systems allow for further increase of frequency due to extremely low losses of SiC semiconductor devices compared to silicon ones. This in turn facilitates higher power density and leads to the reduction of size and volume of the system by smaller size of the magnetic components. The environmental gains are here due to reduced demand for raw materials needed for construction of the system.

The project is a co-operative effort of a consortium consisting of five partners aiming at realization of next generation of Electrostatic Particle Precipitators, new improved ultra-high voltage SiC rectifier and new high voltage device packaging. The consortium gathers a full value chain from devices to systems with participation of companies active in the fields of devices, packaging and systems and addresses performance of the whole system.

The project facilitates commercialization of the next generation of Electrostatic Particle Precipitators, new reliable SiC diode products from Ascatron with different voltage classes in the range 7-15 kV and the new high voltage package for SiC rectifiers from MA Kapslingsteknik.

Successful commercialization will lead to improved environmental control and drastic reduction in energy consumption by implementation of wide band-gap (WBG) technologies.