UA Researchers To Design Vehicle Electrical Systems In New $18.5 Million Center

by The City Wire Staff ([email protected]) 137 views 

Researchers at the University of Arkansas will help lead a new $18.5 million engineering research center to design and develop vehicle electrical systems that are more powerful, efficient and heat-resistant.

The Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems center program – P.O.E.T.S – is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This research will focus on improving thermal and electrical limits in vehicle designs to make cars more fuel efficient and extend the range of electric cars. Alan Mantooth, UA professor of electrical engineering, will serve as deputy director of the research center. Andrew Alleyne, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will serve as director.

“P.O.E.T.S. has assembled a great team of engineers and scientists poised to have a substantial impact on power electronics technology, transportation systems, the workforce and the economy,” said Mantooth.

Other institutions taking part in this program include Howard University, Stanford University, University of Sao Paolo in Brazil, Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which will serve as the lead institution.

UA faculty members joining Mantooth on the center’s research team are Simon Ang and Juan Balda, professors of electrical engineering, and Greg Salamo, professor of physics in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to help drive the boundaries of high-power density technologies into systems for the next decade and beyond,” Mantooth said.

The program’s goal is to increase the power density in vehicles by 10 to 100 times.

“That would translate into billions of liters of fuel saved and nearly double an electric car’s range. Today’s technologies are at their thermal limit. A systems approach is the only way we’ll push beyond the current state of the art,” Alleyne said.