It is literally impossible to list all the applications of power electronics today; it has penetrated almost all the fields where electrical energy is in the picture. This trend is an ever increasing one especially with present trends of new devices and integrated design of power semiconductor devices and controllers. The ease of manufacturing has also led to availability of these devices in a vast range of ratings and gradually has appeared in high voltage and extra high voltage systems also. The day is not far when all of the electrical energy in the world will pass through power electronic systems.
Application of Power Electronics
Below is an attempt to briefly present the diaspora of power electronics.
- Our Daily Life: If we look around ourselves, we can find a whole lot of power electronics applications such as a fan regulator, light dimmer, air-conditioning, induction cooking, emergency lights, personal computers, vacuum cleaners, UPS (uninterrupted power system), battery charges, etc.
- Automotives and Traction: Subways, hybrid electric vehicles, trolley, fork-lifts, and many more. A modern car itself has so many components where power electronic is used such as ignition switch, windshield wiper control, adaptive front lighting, interior lighting, electric power steering and so on. Besides power electronics are extensively used in modern traction systems and ships.
- Industries: Almost all the motors employed in the industries are controlled by power electronic drives, for eg. Rolling mills, textile mills, cement mills, compressors, pumps, fans, blowers, elevators, rotary kilns etc. Other applications include welding, arc furnace, cranes, heating applications, emergency power systems, construction machinery, excavators etc.
- Defense and Aerospace: Power supplies in aircraft, satellites, space shuttles, advance control in missiles, unmanned vehicles and other defense equipments.
- Renewable Energy: Generation systems such as solar, wind etc. needs power conditioning systems, storage systems and conversion systems in order to become usable. For example solar cells generate DC power and for general application we need AC power and hence power electronic converter is used.
- Utility System: HVDC transmission, VAR compensation (SVC), static circuit breakers, generator excitation systems, FACTS, smart grids, etc.