Karamanakos: A software framework for power electronic systems (Soft4PES)

The European Commission has committed to cover about 30% of the overall energy consumption with renewable energy sources by 2030. Electrical variable speed drive systems (i.e., systems that convert electrical energy into mechanical, and vice versa) are expected to convert about 20% of electricity from the grid in the European Union (EU) by 2030, avoiding about 225 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. EU lawmakers have reached a political agreement on legislation that will ban the production of new combustion engine cars and vans from 2035 in an attempt to further expedite the use of electric vehicles with zero CO2 emissions. In the core of all these applications there is a power electronic converter.

Due to the above trends, Finland aims for rapid industrial electrification, transition to clean energy, and carbon neutrality. To achieve the defined goals, the use of power electronics must increase significantly. At the same time, however, there is a significant energy and material crisis due to the contemporary geopolitical situation. This leads to increased energy prices, thus making any energy losses particularly costly, while the production of new hardware (or replacement of the existing) is challenging and very expensive. Moreover, the increasing use of power converters leads to a considerable increase of e-waste that has a negative environmental and economic impact.

The aforementioned challenges motivate the project entitled “A software framework for power electronic systems (Soft4PES),” with the vision to adopt a cost-effective approach that will facilitate economic growth for a resource-wise, sustainable economy. By building a power electronics ecosystem in Finland consisting of prominent academic and industrial partners, our goal is to address the cost, energy, and utilization problems that relate to power electronic systems by means of software. To this aim, we will develop a software library that will provide methods to
operate power electronic systems in the most favorable manner while pushing their performance to their safe operating limits. In doing so, the available hardware of the systems can be fully utilized, while reliable operation can be guaranteed. This library will consist of building blocks and will be characterized by systematic design guidelines to enable the design of highly versatile and modular software solutions that can be tailored and customized to different problems. Finally, to increase the usability and impact of the project output, the said library will be developed as
an open-source software framework. This will make the developed software library accessible to a broader audience of scientists and engineers, thus leading to improved designs, less engineering effort, and shorter commissioning times.

By meeting the above, we aspire to contribute towards a healthier environment through better utilization of power electronics and thus reduced e-waste. The project also aims to contribute to the sustainable development of Finland with a prosperous, modern, competitive, and climate-neutral economy, while it will increase its robustness and immunity to geopolitical changes.

Associate Prof. Dr. Petros Karamanakos
Tampere University
Email: petros.karamanakos@tuni.fi
Tel: +358 (0)50 44 78661