Solid-state transformers are likely to emerge as crucial technology for modern power distribution systems. These are akin to power semiconductors, and show potential in modernizing and harmonizing alternating current (AC) and DC electrical networks. A key trend in the solid-state transformers market stems from the growing share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix. Rapidly spiralling interest in modernizing the grid with more renewable energy sources is expected to spur industry’s interest in solid-state transformers. In these modernization initiatives, passive low frequency transformers are being replaced in wide range of transformer applications.
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The feasibility of solid-state transformers and their economic viability are still open to debate. For instance, a body of research confirms that they can’t be a suitable alternative to phase shifting transformers. However, two trends turn the tide toward the research and development avenues in the solid-state transformers market. These are steadily declining costs and growing use of high performance low-voltage (LV) semiconductor devices in enterprise and commercial applications. A major technological advancement benefitting manufacturers of such transformers is the advent of high-performing magnetic materials. Further, several new features that these transformers are equipped with, make these economically and technologically possible to pursue this as research interest. An example of recent relevance is communication
Modernizing of Power Distribution Networks Key Trend
A prominently rising trend attracting investments by governments and utility providers in several countries is setting of smart grid infrastructure. Smart grids form a key application area for solid-state transformers. Over the past few months, the use of solid-state transformers in facilitating grid ancillary services is also gathering traction for utility companies. Modernizing of power distribution networks using solid-state transformers provide a vast avenue for electrical device manufacturers engaged in offering advanced transformer technology.
Some of the key players are ABB, General Electric Co., Alstom SA, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Siemens AG, Schneider Electric SE, and Cooper Power Systems.
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