Internship: Master Thesis - Development and Evaluation of a Superconducting Transformer Operated in a DC/DC Converter

Location: Wandre, Belgium  
Duration: minimum 3 months with the possibility of extension 
Start Date: To be determined with the student 
Application Deadline: 30/09 

Overview

CE+T Power is offering an exciting opportunity for a Master’s level student to conduct a pioneering thesis in the field of power electronics.  

This thesis will focus on the development and evaluation of a superconducting transformer within a DC/DC converter, a cutting-edge approach aimed at overcoming efficiency limitations in isolated power converters.  

Thesis Description

Over recent years, the efficiency of non-isolated power converters has significantly improved, surpassing 99% due to advancements in wide bandgap power semiconductors. However, in isolated converters, efficiency is predominantly constrained by losses in the conductors and transformer core.  

Superconductors are materials that are able to carry currents exceeding several hundreds of amps at low temperature, e.g. the boiling temperature of liquid nitrogen (77 K = ‐196 °C). 

The aim of this master thesis is to investigate the possibility of using a superconducting transformer in a switching power converter to overcome this limit. 

The thesis will begin with a bibliographical review of papers on the application of superconductivity to power electronics, potential difficulties will be highlighted like the effect of switched currents on superconductors. Industrial usage of superconductors requires low temperatures with the associated cooling machinery. The extra cost induced by this cooling system will be industrially acceptable for quite high-power applications (above a hundred kW). Although the converter to be built during the thesis will be of the order of hundred watts, the topology will be chosen to allow future operation at higher power levels. Dual active bridges or LLC topologies are very good candidates. 

A classical DC/DC converter will be built and tested at room temperature. Then, the transformer will be redesigned with the aim of immersing it at temperatures required to benefit from the superconductivity phenomenon. 

Experiments will highlight the problems to be solved due to current densities and frequency effects. The impacts on magnetic components will also be analyzed. The lessons learnt from these experiments will enable us to better assess the advantages and disadvantages of superconducting transformers regarding achievable power densities and efficiencies. 

The thesis is coupled with an internship at CE+T Power, the company behind the project. The parts of the work not requiring extreme temperatures can be carried out within the company, while benefiting from expert engineers in power electronics. The other parts will be carried out in the “Measurement & Instrumentation” laboratory of the University of Liege. 

The student choosing this subject will have the opportunity to work at the frontier of two exciting and rapidly evolving fields, at the heart of our society’s energy concerns. 

Candidate Profile

  • Currently enrolled in a Master’s program with a focus on electrical engineering, power electronics, or a related field. 
  • Interested in cutting-edge research and development in power electronics and superconductivity
  • Able to conduct parts of the research in an industrial setting, with further exprimental work at the University of Liège
  • The internship is not contingent upon an internship agreement, offering flexibility in terms of academic collaboration

Offer

  • Work alongside expert engineers at CE+T Power and gain hands-on experience in a leading power electronics laboratory
  • Possibility to conduct part of your thesis work at Texas A&M University, one of the major Texan universities
  • Contribute to significant advancements in the field of power electronics, focusing on sustainable and efficient energy solutions
  • A dynamic place of work, where interns are integral team members

How to apply

Interested candidates should submit a CV and a cover letter outlining their interest and qualifications for the thesis project. 

Applications and questions should be sent to f.frebel@cet-power.com

Interested in this opportunity?
Apply now!
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