What is Power Conversion?

The world’s requirement for electrical energy, particularly renewable energy, has made the demand for power electronics more essential than ever before.  Today’s focus on providing clean energy and cutting back on carbon emissions has led to an increased demand for new types of power electronics used in power conversion equipment.

Power conversion equipment uses power electronics devices such as power semiconductors to change and control the flow of electrical energy.  Generally, power conversion converts power from one form to another. Each time you plug your cellphone into the wall to charge, you are using a power converter.  This example involves lowering the input voltage and converting alternating current to direct current (AC to DC).

PCTI shore power project in Canouan Island
PCTI shore power project in Canouan Island
Shore power

Power electronics are used to supply power to ships at berth.  Frequency converters are used for shore power applications.  Ships from different countries have different power requirements than the country that they are visiting.  The country’s grid power is used to power these ships.  The voltage and frequency is converted from the country’s grid to match that of the ship.  The vessels can plug into the grid power supply to reduce idling.

Aircraft ground support

Power conversion is also employed to provide ground power to fighter jets or other aircraft.  The distribution systems on aircraft are based on 400Hz frequency because It is lighter in weight than the 60Hz systems used in the grid. 28VDC power supplies are also used for aircraft engine starting.  PCTI provides both 400Hz and 28VDC ground support solutions.

Battery chargers for submarine maintenance while at base

Another important power conversion application comes into play protecting nation’s waters around the world.  Batteries run a submarine’s propulsion engine and are hence a very critical component within a submarine.  Submarine batteries have to be capable of storing large amounts of energy to power the submarine.  The process of charging and discharging submarine batteries extends the life of these expensive components.  PCTI is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high current battery chargers used for rapid charging/discharging.

Renewables – Wind & Solar

Most renewable applications use at least one form of power conversion, such as a DC/AC inverter.  Inverters are used to convert DC produced from wind and solar energy to usable AC energy.  Once the DC is converted to AC, it can be transferred to be used commercially as grid power.  Some hybrid microgrids with multiple renewable power sources may have a number of multilevel inverters, typically DC/DC and DC/AC.  PCTI is a major global supplier of high power DC/AC inverters for renewable, transportation and other critical applications.