Power Electronics is nothing but a way of converting electrical energy from one form to another, the output by the conversion is a better, more efficient, error free, clean, compact, simple and convenient to use.
The study of power electronics and electric motor drives involves processing of electric power for a variety of uses. And provide a wide range of application within the range from a few watts to megawatts. For the example we can take various computer disk drives, drills with variable speed, lamp dimmers, electric vehicles, industrial machine tools, and electrical drives.
The area of power electronics is so vast that every day average 12 billion kilowatts per hour of power which is more than 80 % of the power generated is converted or processed or recycled by some of power electronic devices. As the power conversion efficiency is low the losses of energy during the power conversion are so high. We can understand this by a small example of estimated power consumption in a desktop sold in one year, which is equal to the 17 power plants of 500 MW. So it is very necessary to improve the efficiency of the power conversion systems.
By an estimated calculation, it has been found that with the use of efficient and economically effective power electronic technology, the world can save 35 % reduction in energy consumption.
Following are various applications with a wide power range from a few tens of watts to several hundreds of megawatts. As power semiconductor devices improve in performance, efficiency and if the cost will be reduced, more systems will undoubtedly use power electronics.
- Refrigeration and freezers
- Space heating
- Air conditioning
- Electronics (PCs, other entertainment equipment)
- Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning
- Central refrigeration
- Computers and office equipment
- Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs)
- Blowers and fans
- Machine tools (robots)
- Arc furnaces and induction furnaces
- Industrial lasers
- Induction heating
- Traction control of electric vehicles
- Battery chargers for electric vehicles
- Electric locomotives
- Street cars, trolley buses
- Automotive electronics, including engine controls
- Utility systems
- Supplemental energy sources (wind, photo voltaic), fuel cells
- Energy storage systems
- Induced draft fans and boiler feedwater pumps
- Space shuttle power supply systems
- Satellite power systems
- Aircraft power systems
- Battery chargers
- Power supplies (DC and UPS)
It is literally impossible to list all the application of power electronics today; it has covered almost all the areas where electrical energy is being used. This has become a trend now and it is increasing, especially with the present scenario of new devices and integrated design of power semiconductor devices and controllers. The ease of manufacturing has also helped these devices to be available so now a day these devices exist in a vast range of ratings and gradually have appeared in high voltage and extra high voltage systems also. In the end it can be summaries in the words that, the day is not far when all of the electrical energy in the world will pass through power electronic systems.