New SJSU collaboration with Delta Electronics Speeds Power Processing of Photovoltaic Converters

Dr. Mohamed Badawy, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering, is working on developing photovoltaic converters using a novel differential power-processing topology, thanks to generous support from Fremont-based Delta Electronics (Americas), a global provider of power and thermal management solutions. Three MSEE students are assisting Badawy in this project, and one of them, Nitin George Thomas ('19 MSEE), will show an iteration of the design in May's Technology Showcase.

Delta has long had similar relationships with schools such as Virginia Tech, and is hoping to establish a foothold among the universities of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. "This is a wonderful opportunity to give back by assisting San Jose State’s power electronics program," said Peter Barbosa, director of the Milan M. Jovanovic Power Electronics Laboratory at Delta’s Raleigh campus. "We bring an incredible wealth of technical expertise and product knowledge to the table."

Yang Jiao, a member of the R&D staff at the Delta Raleigh campus, serves as the primary advisor for SJSU. He described the collaborative project as an important way for Delta to explore concepts and other ideas that may be difficult to foster in an industry environment. Jiao added, "Networking and building this relationship will also help us to attract SJSU students."

Delta Project Specialist Arthur Jen ('17) is an Industrial and Systems Engineering alumnus with a strong foundation in Mechanical Engineering. He works in Delta’s corporate social responsibility department and is using his knowledge from other solar projects at Delta to see the potential application for these collaborative photovoltaic converters. Jen also manages three senior design projects from the ISE department. "In my opinion," said Jen, "the end goal would be to get involved with more exciting and relevant technology and research that can be mutually beneficial to Delta as well as the students and universities involved."


Ruth Chao, corporate affairs manager, leads Delta’s corporate social responsibility program and was the one who spearheaded this collaboration by connecting SJSU with Dr. Milan Jovanovic, a pioneer in power electronics who directed advanced technology development at Delta.
 
“It’s our corporate mission to give back to the community, and one of the ways is to engage students in the classroom,” Chao said. “We hope to inspire them to start careers in STEM and realize their dreams.”
 
Badawy is on the organizing committee of IEEE’s Energy Convergence Conference and Congress, which is preparing a special section of the Fall 2019 conference to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Jovanovic. Badawy had reached out to Delta with a list of potential projects, and Jovanovic chose this differential power-processing topology from the list.
 
Jovanovic and Delta gave SJSU significant resources and freedom in the project design and management. "I’d like to tell my faculty colleagues, don’t be shy to reach out to companies," said Badawy. "Silicon Valley companies want to work with San Jose State, with fresh ideas from our faculty."
 
Sadly, after creating the partnership with SJSU, Jovanovic passed away, but he still inspires Badawys’ project. The year-long collaboration began in January 2019 and the team has produced one tested and fully working design, and started working on a smaller, lighter, and less expensive model. A publication is also anticipated this fall.