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US DoE announces winners of HVDC prize


$200,000 awarded to new technologies that improve the performance and resilience of the US energy grid

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Office of Electricity (OE) has announced the four winners of the American-Made High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Prize.

This $200,000 prize — $50,000 awarded to each winning team — encouraged competitors to share new technology solutions that improve the performance and resilience of the US energy grid by addressing technical challenges around HVDC. 

“Ensuring that low-cost, clean energy is available to support and improve the lives of all Americans is a priority for the Office of Electricity,” said Gene Rodrigues, Assistant Secretary for Electricity. “The ideas presented through the HVDC Prize will continue to strengthen the nation’s grid and pave the way for new, cutting-edge solutions within the renewables industry.”

The following four teams were each awarded $50,000 in cash prizes for their efforts.

Richard Zhang, Virginia Tech — Multi-Functional Intelligent Voltage-Source-Converter HVDC  

This submission aims to develop a multi-functional, intelligent voltage-source-converter which will significantly reduce engineering costs and time in the design, test, and commission phases for commercial HVDC projects. The proposed design also ensures that operations are controlled, minimising energy product losses caused by unstable conditions.

SixPoint Materials — Hybrid HVDC Breaker Using GaN Semiconductor  

This team is developing a GaN photoconductive semiconductor switch (PCSS) for hybrid HVDC circuit breakers, therefore decreasing operational costs and increasing response time and efficiency. These efforts will help meet the need of rapidly growing renewable powerplants that require reliable, multi‐terminal HVDC transmission systems.

University of South Florida — Generalised Dynamic Circuit Model Design for HVDC  

This submission provided a unified modeling framework for HVDCs that enables three types of analysis simultaneously: stability, harmonics, and ferroresonance. To meet this goal, this team developed dynamic circuit representations for HVDC converters with both DC and AC ports, accelerating HVDC system studies in the planning and design stages. 

Drexel University — Proactive Solid State Circuit Breaker for HVDC System Protection 

This submission aims to minimise power outages and provide more reliable protections for DC systems through the development of a proactive solid state circuit breaker (P-SSCB). based on the design’s modularity, the P-SSCB can be further extended to higher voltage and higher current applications. 

The prize is part of the American-Made Challenges program, which incentivises innovation through prizes, training, teaming, and mentoring by connecting the nation’s entrepreneurs and innovators to America’s National Labs and the private sector. 

Since the American-Made Challenges prize program launched in 2018 to support US entrepreneurship and innovation in clean energy, DOE has awarded over $150 million in cash prizes and incentives to competitors. 

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