A Canadian company says the U.S. patent office has issued a patent for its power inverter technology.
CALGARY, Alberta, CA, 2001-03-29 <SolarAccess.com> Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. says the patent protects 25 claims covering the inverter that is key to its integrated energy management and power conditioning products. Power management systems are critical to the development of the distributed generation market, and convert the output of emerging generation technologies, such as solar photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, fuel cells, microturbines and flywheels, to useable electricity. They also provide the vital interface between the power source and the end user. “A key issue with power management systems is the efficiency of the power conversion process,” says president and CEO Michael Carten. “A fuel cell that has the ability to convert hydrogen to DC electricity at a 40 percent rate of efficiency can lose as much as 20 percent of the electrical output as the DC outputs are converted AC electricity with existing technologies.” The 40 percent efficiency indicates that 60 percent of the energy is lost to heat. “The technology described in the patent makes it possible, for the first time, to efficiently convert the power output of a fuel cell with single power conversion step,” he explains. “With average efficiencies of more than 95 percent, we believe our inverter will contribute significantly to the competitiveness of all fuel cell technologies.” The Calgary company is in the final stages of developing a power management module that will combine its patented inverter with its bi-directional DC – DC converter. The module can be configured to meet the needs of all forms of generation and storage technologies from PV panels to flywheels, and deliveries are targeted for May.