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Publication Date: 08/1/2008
Archive >  August 2008 Issue >  Hi-Tech Events > 

Power Supply Technologies at electronica 2008
Munich, Germany — electronica 2008, scheduled to be at the New Munich Trade Fair Center, November 11-14, 2008, will showcase virtually the entire breadth of power supply technologies as well as the major trends. Among the expected 250 power supply-related exhibitors are products which include configurations, switching technologies, components, backup and energy storage, advanced technologies and environmental standards.

Configurations at electronica include off line and other AC/DC power supplies, DC/DC converters including voltage regulator modules (VRMs), full, half and quarter bricks, open and closed frames, hot plug, (n+1) redundant, inverters and modular configurable systems. Switching technologies in Munich include square, resonant and quasi-resonant switching, and flyback, forward and bipolar topologies. Components feature ultra-fast, high voltage and high temperature silicon carbide (SiC) devices, high temperature gallium nitride (GaN) devices, analog and mixed-signal controller ICs, digital microcontrollers, power factor correction (PFC) controllers, synchronous rectifiers, standard and low ESR capacitors, thru-hole and surface-mount inductors and power connectors.

Backup and energy storage will include uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), passive energy storage (standard- and ultra-capacitors), chemical energy storage (batteries and advanced chemistry systems) and kinetic energy storage.

Advanced technologies include solar photovoltaic power converters and microgenerators, while environmental standards will cover reducing the world's power consumption of electronic devices in their "off state", as well as increasing their power supply conversion efficiency (with the potential to save tens of tera-watt hours), which in turn, could relieve the earth's atmosphere of tens of megatons of CO2 each year as well as other undesirable power generation chemical byproducts. Power supply manufacturers will be available to discuss various worldwide environmental standards including Energy Star, International Energy Star, Blue Angel, the Group for Energy Efficient Appliances, the European Code of Conduct, EU Eco Label, Energy Plus, and Nordic Star.

Solar Photovoltaics
The market for photovoltaics is currently growing between 30 percent and 50 percent annually. In 2007, 3-4 gigawatts (GW) of solar system capacity were installed, increasing the total worldwide installed system capacity to 10GW.

Approximately 40 commercial IC types are used to convert solar photovoltaic energy into line power. Some of these manufacturers will be exhibiting at electronica 2008. IC switching frequencies range from low (50 or 60Hz) to high (16 to 100kHz). Some ICs are designed to convert power without a transformer. Conversion efficiencies generally exceed 95 percent, with future standards pegged at or above 98 percent.

The show is expected to bring exhibitors who are working with modular power electronics building blocks (PEBBs) used in building power electronics-based controllers for utility systems applications.

Energy Harvesting
"Energy harvesting" means driving energy from the immediate environment. Microgenerators, also called "energy scavengers", can generate energy from light, sound, temperature differences or vibrations to replace or supplement batteries. Future energy scavengers will charge mobile phones as people walk, drive heart pacemakers through the beating of a person's own heart or feed waste heat and engine vibrations to air conditioning systems or other electronics in automobiles. Although futuristic, the first generation of energy scavenger power management ICs are already available on the market. They accept input voltages as low as 300mV and supply output voltages of 5.5V.

Hybrid Autos
electronica 2008 will feature major development trends in primary and rechargeable batteries, as well as the related charging technologies. The Mercedes S 400 Hybrid luxury limousine, for the 2009 model year sets a new standard by using a lithium ion battery in an automobile application. This battery chemistry has been used widely in the telecommunications and consumer electronics markets, but this is a first for the automotive market.

Medical Power
Medical power supplies must be efficient, compact, quiet and safe. The supplies must meet higher input-output withstand voltage limits as well as very low ground leakage current. The required cooling airflow must not create fan acoustic noise. Exhibitors will include a number of medical power supply manufacturers that embody these new technology trends and cost limits.

Contact: Munich International Trade Fairs, 75 Broad St., New York, NY 10004. 646-437-1014; fax: 212-262-6519. Web:

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