Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 12

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Kristin Sampayan: Researchers at
Lawrence Livermore National Labo -
ratory were looking for a fast way to
switch high voltage. They found that
when certain wide bandgap materials
were hit with light, they became conductive
but when the light went away,
the conductivity dropped. They patented
the invention - the Optical Trans -
conductance Varistor (OTV) - but
since they don't commercialize technology,
we licensed it and formed Op -
condys to bring it to market.
Tech Briefs: How would this
operate on the grid?
Sampayan: It would go into, say,
inverters for grid-tied energy storage.
For example, wind turbines generate
AC, which needs to be converted to DC
and then back to AC to get on the grid.
It could be used anytime you need to
change one type of power to another,
whether AC to DC or one DC level to
another DC level.
Tech Briefs: What's the advantage
of controlling power, rather than
just switching it on and off?
Sampayan: You often need to regulate
the voltage during peak demand
and off-peak times to minimize voltage
fluctuations to the customer. Also, the
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/79416-740
Cov
www.techbriefs.com
ToC
Sampayan: Losses are based on how
fast a device can switch the voltage.
Because our OTV is a bulk conduction
device and is operated by light, it can
turn on much faster and because of
that shorter transition period, the transition
losses are a lot less. We'd therefore
be saving energy that is now being
wasted. Losses in the transistor devices
that are being used now can amount to
10 percent of the electricity that flows
through them. As we use more renewable
sources, particularly wind and
solar, more and more of that energy, as
it's produced and distributed, is going
through power electronics used in in -
verters and other types of control and
regulating equipment.
Tech Briefs: What is your timeline
for introduction?
Sampayan: We're still developing a
prototype - we're testing our first actual
module. We've done bench-scale
tests, so now we're looking at a device
that we could take out to customers.
Our first customers would probably
not be manufacturers of equipment for
the power grid. They tend to need
everything to be well tested before
adopting it into their equipment. We
think the first applications will be for
pulsed high-voltage sterilization of air
and liquids, such as juices and milk, and
also for charged particle accelerators.
Read the full transcript of this Q&A at
www.techbriefs.com.
Tech Briefs, August 2021
Who's Who
at NASA
Switching Technology Improves
Power Grid Efficiency
Kristin Sampayan,
CEO of Opcondys,
Inc., is guiding the
commercialization
of low-loss, highspeed,
high-voltage
switching technology
developed at Law -
rence Livermore Na -
time that it takes to switch on and off
can be controlled, depending on wheth -
er you want to go full power. In addition,
you can control the current
through the device for some function
such as fault limiting.
Tech Briefs: How could this reduce
CO2 emissions?
http://info.hotims.com/79416-740 http://www.techbriefs.com http://www.techbriefs.com http://www.abpi.net/ntbpdfclicks/l.php?202108MDNAV

Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 3
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 4
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov4
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov2
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-32
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-37
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-38
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-39
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-40
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov3
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