ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

NSF Renews CPES Funding with $12.5 Million, 4-year Contract

By Liz Crumbley

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a four-year, $12.5 million funding renewal for the Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), a university/industry coalition.


One of only 19 active NSF Engineering Research Centers in the United States, CPES was the first such center based in Virginia. The NSF established CPES in 1998 with Virginia Tech as the lead university in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, and North Carolina A&T State University.


The funding renewal marks a successful sixth-year review of CPES efforts by the NSF, which already has awarded about $18 million in funding to the center since 1998. The academic coalition is additionally supported by funding of more than $1 million annually from an industrial consortium that includes 78 industry affiliates.


The major goal of CPES research during the past six years has been development of power electronics technology that could lead to significant savings in energy consumption and help increase U.S. competitiveness. This past year, the center demonstrated technology that could reduce energy consumption by 30 percent: a prototype 1kW front-end converter for computer, telecommunications and internet servers that uses standard-cell modules. The Integrated Power Electronics Modules (IPEMs) replace hundreds of discrete components typical in conventional power converters.


The coalition efforts are led by ECE’s Fred Lee, a University Distinguished Professor and CPES director. See www.cpes.vt.edu for more information.