Summary: Power systems and transportation are facing many changes due to the economic opportunities and the environmental issues of the 20th and 21st centuries. The power generation is developing with the renewable energy sources. The wind power plants are being installed on the mainland and offshore. The solar power plants are spreading from the large power plants to the small units on the household rooftops. The power transmission and distribution is adapting to meet the requirements of the new energy sources and loads. The transportation is developing towards the reduction of CO2 emissions. Different vehicles like trains, buses, cars, ships or airplanes are becoming more and more electric.

Power systems and transportation are changing with a significant contribution of power electronics. The wind and solar energy sources interface with the electricity grids through the power electronics converters. The power supply infrastructure and drives of electric vehicles involve the power electronics converters as well.

The power electronics converters are expected to be efficient, reliable and cost effective. The innovations in the domain are ranging from grid architectures, converter topologies and converter technologies. This session will provide some insights from the industry perspective through several presentations and a panel discussion. The session will give the opportunity for the power electronics community to exchange on the experience of the innovative industrial companies.

Chairman: Piotr Dworakowski, SuperGrid Institute, France

Schedule: 11th September 2020 – 2 hours session: 1 hour presentations and 1 hour panel discussion


Title and abstract:

Astrig Benefice &
Eric Lamard

Compagnie Nationale du Rhône, France

The banks of energy on the Rhône river – towards linear photovoltaic plants

The PPE, the multiannual energy program for France, plans for 2023 a significant acceleration of the development of renewable energies, positioning France in capacity to achieve the objectives of the Energy Transition Act for 2030. In particular, the objectives of the PPE will allow increase by more than 70% the installed capacity of electric renewable energies compared to 2014, the photovoltaic capacity thus having to reach 20.4 GW by 2023.

This strong ambition translates into a progressive rarefaction of land easily available for the development of large photovoltaic plants, potentially inducing more conflicts of use than today. For this reason, CNR, the Rhone concessionaire and the leading 100% renewable electricity producer in France, is interested in new types of sites to promote photovoltaic field and support the development of the territories in a sustainable and innovative way all along the river Rhone.

By managing almost 500 kilometres of linear sites, CNR is also interested in the development of long-distance plants, on dikes, bike paths, roads and railways that run along them. The bifacial linear photovoltaic plant of 350 m at Sablons, under construction in 2020, is the first linear park of CNR. CNR is also working on other projects, of 2 and then 20 km: the principal issue is to find the electrical architecture suitable for these linear solar plants.

Rivers and shores, from the Rhone and elsewhere, at the crossroads of transport, energy and the environment, are privileged vectors to promote these solar innovations and to be at the heart of the energy transition.

Frans Dijkhuizen
Hitachi ABB Power Grids Research, Sweden

Role of power electronics in future power grids

Various global trends, needs and issues are acting simultaneously on the society. The energy transformation scenarios analysis underlines a significant increase of electricity by 2050 as primary energy carrier. That requires new Grids (Transmission and Distribution), managing changing generation mix, connecting new geographies, balancing more fluctuations and less predictable patterns, not compromising grid reliability & availability. Grid connected Power electronics ranging from kWs to GWs plays a key role in this transition and enables the transition to a stronger, smarter and greener grid.

Michel Mermet-Guyennet
Alstom, France

Energy management in railways system

Among all the transportation systems, trains are the best in low carbon-dioxide emission for urban transportation and regional trains (medium and long distances).  For tramways, supplies by over head lines (OHL) in the town centers remain difficult because of the high population density, and solutions of dual-mode ESS-OHL are promising. For regional trains, both solutions are considered for the replacement of diesel trains (DMU = Diesel Multiple Unit) :

– Hybrid trains with hydrogen Fuel Cells (FC) and ESS (Battery and/or SuperCapacitor)

– Dual-Mode trains ESS-OHL.

Each of these solutions requires specific architecture to fit with the existing infrastructure environment and the existing electric supply grid. Each solution must maximize the length of autonomy, minimize the energy consumption and the global CO2 emission.

In all solutions the power electronics is a key enabler and impacts the global efficiency of the systems.

FINE-1 and FINE-2 programs are part of Shift2Rail European Program and target solutions for better efficiency of rail systems. Some key results on energy will be presented.

Sebastian Nielebock
Siemens AG
Corporate Technology
Power Electronic Systems

DC grid application fields – Opportunities and Challenges from an Industry point of view

Besides traditional HVDC transmission systems, other DC application fields in the low and medium voltage area have been developing over the last 10 years inside research and funding projects. DC supply solutions should derive benefits in terms of reliability, availability, energy efficiency, size, functionality, and total cost of ownership. There are different aspects which support the introduction of DC technology for example the integration of renewable energy, green factories, and of course e-mobility, which needs intelligent charging infrastructure. This covers the residential charging solution with integrated photovoltaic and stationary storage up to fast charging stations for multiple cars, bus depots or trucks. But there is a necessary transition from the existing AC infrastructure to these promising DC solutions which could enable a lot of benefits but also introduce some drawbacks or technology challenges. Reliability of power electronic systems versus costs, fault handling and localization, grid stability and EMI are topics which must be considered and, where necessary, to come up with competitive solutions. From an industry point of view there are additionally other more economic questions which must be clarified carefully before going down the path into new technology areas. For instance, the potential commercial benefit, dealing with standardization, time to enter the market, product portfolio alignment, and necessary investment all need careful considering to be able to drive the technology on the one hand and bring up new products and solutions in the market.

Daniel Radu
Schneider Electric
Power Systems Center

DC microgrids application in hyper scale data centers

Nowadays the huge growth of the data center market correlated with the increasing of the cost of the energy (electricity, fuel, gas …) and environmental constraints is imposing new approaches in the design, build and operation of the data center electrical infrastructures, able to bring fast and flexible improvement of energy efficiency. Hence, one investigated option is the use of DC microgrids at the level of the electrical distribution of the data centers in order to avoid unnecessary power losses and improve the operational efficiency. Different power electronics technologies, from extra low voltage to medium voltage DC, were investigated and deployed among last years, some of them being part of the market place today. The main key performance indicators were targeted higher efficiency, higher reliability, lower cost and easily maintenance. The presentation will discuss the investigations and application of the DC architectures and DC power electronics technologies  in the hyper scale data centers.

Erwann Mauxion
General Electric
Power Conversion

Power Grids of the Future | A closer look at the UK’s Angle DC Project application of multi Active Front End inverters for MVDC transmission

Following the decommissioning of coal power plants and the introduction of Renewable energy onto the network there is a growing demand for MVDC links transmissions for network reinforcement.

The Angle DC link (33MVA, +/-27KVdc) between mainland England and Wales falls into this category and is a key innovation for Scottish Power Energy Networks and General Electric.

The Active Front End drives used on each side of the DC link create a “giant inverter” with a lengthy DC link. The inverters are positioned in series on each substation and their number are linked to the performances required in terms of Power levels. One side acts as a converter by controlling the DC link voltage while the other substation acts as an inverter. Different modes of operation are achievable (Static Compensation, Bidirectional Power Flow, Island mode).

Simulation results initially show that the architecture is suitable.

The concept developed is a satisfactory option as it does not require new Product Introduction programs. It is scalable and can reuse existing assets from the Original Equipment Manufacturer and the network operator.


Mrs Astrig Benefice is a generalist engineer graduate of ECL (Ecole Centrale de Lyon). She has 10 years of professional experience within CNR. She has been working on many projects related to energy production and storage. In particular, she worked on optimizing the economic value of energy produced by cascading hydroelectric power plants, whether for operational management (Rhône and SHEM on behalf of ENGIE), or for studies in France (call of tenders). She is now Project Manager within the Energy Transition and Innovation Department, and in particular in charge of developing innovative solar projects.

Frans Dijkhuizen received his electrical engineering degree in 1995 and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 2003, both from the Eindhoven University of Technology TU/e, the Netherlands.

He joined ABB Corporate Research in Västerås Sweden in 2001 working mainly in the field of high-power electronics. Now he is with ABB Power Grids Research for the ABB Power Grids division that merged with Hitachi on 1st of July 2020. His areas of research since 2001 is grid connected power electronics converters R&D for HVDC, FACTS, BESS and Active filter systems. He is a Senior Principal Scientist, inventor or co-inventor of 40+ patents, Affiliated Faculty with the University KTH, member of the IEC/TC115/WG15 HVDC Grids Systems and member of the EPE ISC and IEEE.

Piotr Dworakowski received the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Gdansk University of Technology, Poland, in 2007. Recently he has started the work towards the PhD degree at the same university.

From 2008 to 2013 he was working in Alstom Transport, Tarbes, France on traction drives control. Since 2014 he has been a Power Converters Team Leader in SuperGrid Institute, Lyon, France. His research interests include high efficiency power converters for grids and transportation. He is a member of CIGRE WG B4.76 and C6/B4.37. He is an author or co-author of 30+ scientific articles. He is an inventor or co-inventor of several patents.

Eric Lamard is a hydroelectric expert graduated from ENSEM (National School of Electricity and Mechanics of Nancy).

He has 24 years of professional experience with CNR. He has worked on projects such as the setting up of the Rhône river waterfall telecontrol from Lyon, the development of small hydroelectricity in France and abroad, the construction of hydroelectric power stations, energy autonomy d ‘an island in the Antilles with energy storage units and intermittent means of production.

Erwann Mauxion is the Senior Systems Engineering Manager for GE Power Conversion (GEPC) with a focus on the following business segments: Industry, Marine and Naval.

In 2003, he graduated with a MEng degree in Advanced Control Techniques from Ecole des Mines de Nantes (France). The following year he joined Power Conversion’s drive control team responsible for developing Power Electronic Controller applications. After gaining extensive experience across the Renewables, Marine, Navy and Steel industries, in 2012 he became a Project Engineer supporting customers within the Renewable Energy sector. During this time he managed numerous engineering projects through tendering to commissioning, notably playing a key role developing and testing the LV8900 converter, for the first GE Haliade wind turbine project. In 2014, Erwann took on the Project Lead Engineering role within Power Conversion’s Naval Systems business.  Whilst in this role he contributed to technical studies and white papers sharing his learnings of Power Take In/ Power Take Out (PTI/PTO) techniques which were successfully implemented with Global Navies – including the UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Italian Navy. Currently, he manages the Systems Engineering group of Lead Engineers for GE Power Conversion in the UK, applying his domain expertise in power electronics to customer applications worldwide across the Energy, Marine and Industry sectors.

Michel MERMET GUYENNET was born in 1957. He holds PhD (1984) in Applied Physics from Université de Marseille-Luminy and is graduated from Ecole Centrale de Paris (1981). He successively worked for Thomson Militaire et Spatial, SGS-Thomson, Advanced Computer Research Institute and Compagnie des Signaux where he had in charge R&D programs in the field of electronic components and system hardware. He joined Alstom Transport in 1996 in charge of technology development for IGBT power converters for traction. From 2001 to 2010, he was Technical Director of Power Electronics Associated Research Laboratory. From 2011 to 2013, he was in charge of development of full SiC converter with high speed motor. From 2013 to 2019 he was with Supergrid-Institute as Director of Program Power Electronics & Converters. He is now expert Innovation & Energy at Alstom.

Sebastian Nielebock received the Dipl.-Ing. degree from the Otto von Guericke University, Magdeburg, in 2005. During his studies, he focused on power electronics, embedded systems and signal electronics. As part of the degree, he began working for Siemens AG while finishing his diploma thesis on wireless power transfer for excitation devices of superconducting machines. Since 2005 he has worked for Siemens AG as Engineer, Portfolio Manager and is currently the Research Group Head for Power Electronic Systems inside Corporate Technology. The main research areas are wide band gap converter systems, high power DC/DC converters, solid state circuit breaker and DC protection systems.

Daniel Radu is Director of Technology with Schneider Electric (SE), Power Products Division/Power Systems Center

He obtained a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering, in 2004, from the University “POLITEHNICA” of Bucharest, Romania. From 1998 to 2002 he has been assistant professor of Electrical Engineering in the same University. Follow this was involved in research and teaching activity with Power Engineering Laboratory of Grenoble – LEG, France. He is currently with Schneider Electric, France, since 2006. His interests include large data center applications, semiconductor manufacture electrical facilities, shore connection systems, low and medium voltage power systems transient analysis, power systems modelling, LV and MV equipment’s and system design. He published more than 30 international papers in conferences proceedings and journals and several white papers in the field of Electro-Intensive Applications. He holds several patents in the field of power quality, frequency conversion applications and power systems. Also, he participates as technical expert to TC18 & TC23 committees of IEC, is IEEE member since 2006 and SEMI Standard member since 2017. From 2012 to 2016 he was convenor of the IEC/ISO/IEEE JWG28 Cold Ironing, a group of 30 international experts mandated to develop the Shore Connection Standards.