Harry Vig Discusses the Bi-Directional Power Systems Webinar

June 20, 2016

Our bi-directional power webinar (click here for the rebroadcast) was incredibly popular, and several people have asked for more information. We interviewed Harry Vig after he had presented the webinar and had reflected on the questions he’d received by email to dig deeper into bi-directional power systems design. This is the first of a series of three blog posts about the interview.


Harry Vig VicorThe webinar was very popular. Why do you think that there is so much interest in bi-directional power flow at the moment?

From my conversations with customers, it’s clear that the main driver is the need for greater efficiency in systems. This means that power system designers recognize they need to look at every aspect of the way they develop power chains, including new approaches such as the use of bi-directional power flow in their systems. You could say that there’s a real market for environmentally-friendly power trains: both those that save energy with improved efficiency and also reducing the material usage to implement the power chain.

Equally important as the demand for new approaches to power system design is the availability of power components that support bi-directional energy flow. Although it’s possible to use back-to-back converters, there are several advantages to a single component. The most important is size: using a single component dramatically reduces the size of the solution. The availability of bi-directional components also changes the economics, and allows advanced topologies to compete in cost-sensitive, as well as performance-orientated, applications.


What did you learn from the development of the webinar content and the attendees’ questions?

There were two things I took away from creating the webinar:

Firstly, there is real interest in bi-directional power design. I got quite a few calls after the webinar, so I know that people really are interested and they have real problems that need solving.

The other thing I took away from the webinar was that the NBM has one big advantage over the BCM: it starts in reverse without needing a bootstrap circuit. If you don’t need isolation this is an important benefit: the bootstrap circuit to power the high voltage side of the BCM from the low voltage takes time to design, adds to the cost and decreases the power density. It’s interesting to see that a product that we created can deliver such significant benefits when used as a bi-directional component.

To find out more, watch the webinar, which is available as an on-demand rebroadcast.


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