Multi-Site Integrated Power Converters for DC Distribution Networks of Data Centers

Project: Research

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More than 80% of total electricity in the US, 50% in the UK and 43% in China need to be generated from the renewables by 2050 and emerging DC loads such as data centers and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging will account for nearly 70% electricity consumption in the UK and China by 2050. For data centers, more than 7% efficiency increase, 6% equipment cost reduction and 33% equipment footprint reduction are achieved via DC systems. Due to the exponential demand for Machine Learning (ML), the next generation data centers will largely adopt GPUs. However, high power consumption for GPUs has placed a great challenge for power supplies because of large current (>200 A) at low voltage. To date, most GPU stacks use multiple power conversion stages, from 380 to 48V, then 48 to 24V, then 24 to and 12 V, then 12 to 4V. Multiple power converters have to be used for and located in dedicated compartments in the server cubicle, which will introduce lengthy cabling and complex system causing significant losses. This project aims to develop a 50 kW power conversion system by designing new circuit topologies and new materials for isolation transformer. Advanced DC-DC power converters at different stages of the DC network for data centers will be investigated, designed and tested. By using Silicon Carbide (SiC) device, the Nanocrystalline flake ribbon based DC-DC converter for 380V to 48V conversion will be developed via dual-active bridge (DAB). Also, the new topology called Mixed Analogue and Digital (MAD) circuit will be adopted for 48V to 12V and 48V to 4V conversions by using Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices. The final applicable prototype is to achieve high energy efficiency (more than 99%), high power density (more than 3000 W/in3) and high reliability of DC networks for data centers with lower costs, which aligns with the sustainable energy theme. Apart from the significance of the technologies upgraded to a new generation by the proposed project, the market expectation of high efficiency and power density converters for data centers are very demanding, especially for the well-developed financial service and data service in Hong Kong. Undoubtfully, with the financial support of Innovation and Technology Fund, the proposed power converters for of data centers will certainly impetus the development of relevant industries as well as promoting innovation and employment in Hong Kong.


Project number9440304
Grant typeITF
Effective start/end date1/06/22 → …