Electronic Design Describes how Vicor Enables 400 V HVDC in the Data Center

February 24, 2014

ElecDesignArticleWe’re really excited by the opportunities provided by HVDC power distribution. This Electronic Design article by Don Tuite looks at some of the history and drivers for the move to 400 VDC, going back to 2007 when this approach was initially proposed for power distribution.

The article provides a fabulous case study of why some great ideas are hard to implement in the real world. Don reveals that 15 different nominal voltages have been proposed, and explains that 400 V was chosen because of its unique benefits; these include eliminating phase balancing, removing the need for power factor correction (PFC) and the fact that harmonic currents are not generated.

Don explains how leading companies such as Intel, Emerson Network Power, and EYP Mission Critical Facilities were cheerleaders for the technology, promoting its benefits and helping to develop standards. Deploying in the real-world, however, was more difficult due to the lack of suitable power components.

The announcement of Vicor’s ChiP BCM, which converts 400 V to 48 V, allowed engineers to develop compact, efficient DC-DC converters using our modular power design methodology. Don clearly felt that this product was a critical factor in the commercialisation of 400 V DC in the data center, calling it “the missing link”.

Whether you are involved in data center power architectures, considering HVDC power distribution in another application or simply interested in the challenges involved in bringing a complex standard to market, ‘400-V DC Distribution in the Data Center Gets Real‘ is well worth a read.

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