The team of the School of Industrial Engineers, the only European team in the final of the International Future Energy Challenge (IFEC)

The IFEC competition, promoted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the PES (Power Electronics Society), encourages university students from around the world every year to find solutions in the field of electrical energy optimization in Industrial applications. This year’s challenge is to design and build a 400 V to 12 V DC converter, of very high efficiency (96% -97%) and limited size (15 kW/l). The direct application of this converter is to use it in data centers to take better advantage of electricity, where consumption in a few years will amount to 10% of the energy produced on the planet by 2020. To achieve this, participants are encouraged to use State-of-the-art technology, such as gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors, and to work and coordinate in a group.

The Spanish team, formed by Iñigo Zubitur, Dusan Cohadzic, Ignacio Murga, Diego Gil and José Luis Millán and under the tutelage of professors Miroslav Vasić and Jesús Ángel Oliver, has been overcoming the different phases of the competition. In October, 23 design proposals were sent.

Later on, in December the list of semifinalists was announced, 15 teams from all over the world, including the Spanish team. The semi-final took place in late March in Tampa, Florida, during the APEC (Applied Power Electronics Conference), one of the most important conferences in the sector. After defending the progress of these months, on April 12 were informed of the teams that would pass to the final. The ETSII-UPM team was the only European to qualify, and will be beat in the final on July 24 and 25 in Virginia Tech, USA, against another 9 teams from America and Asia.

We want to thank our Sponsors Ferroxcube and Infineon for their support. Ferroxcube is supporting us with their new generation of high-frequency (MHz range) material 3F46 for the magnetic components. Infineon has provided their next-generation sub-miliohm OptiMOS™5 30V MOSFETS. Their help is much appreciated as technology enablers for higher efficiency power electronics.