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One of the major challenges of our time is climate change and the associated need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The requirement to reduce CO2 emissions has brought about significant changes in the area of power generation, and also in the area of mobility. Supported by a favorable subsidy policy, the solar boom originated in Germany and quickly spread widely across Europe. Government policy has specified a sharp reduction of CO2 emissions for the automotive industry as well, increasing the pressure to come up with new developments within the entire supply chain. The advancing electrification of motor vehicles that currently takes place predominantly in the area of auxiliary units, and the demand for power inverters for renewable energy sources, have triggered a worldwide demand for power electronics components and led to significant development efforts towards efficient, cost-effective and reliable power electronics.
Challenges in Power Electronics
Anyone in the field of power electronics will quickly get involved in discussions about efficiency. On the one hand, the reasons result from technical requirements and, on the other hand, from purely economic considerations. For example, the efficiency of a solar power inverter to be purchased must be carefully considered as differences in efficiency of merely a fraction of one percent can greatly affect the yield of the entire system. The efficiency is also a very important factor for the controllability of power electronics applications as every loss in efficiency also means power dissipation, which is directly converted into heat. The higher the system performance, the higher the effort for removing the generated power dissipation. Higher power dissipation also means higher economic losses caused by the low efficiency of the entire system.
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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of The PCB Magazine.