The Santa Clara Valley chapter of the IEEE Power Electronics Society (IEEE SCV-PELS) is interested in the development of power electronics technology. This technology encompasses the effective use of electronic components, the application of circuit theory and design techniques, and the development of analytical tools toward efficient electronic conversion, control, and conditioning of electric power.


2010 Meetings

The linked titles of some meetings are the presentations provided by the speakers for downloading.

January 20th, 2010: "Power Optimization and Monitoring in Photovoltaic Systems" by Perry Tsao

Abstract: Power electronics and monitoring products for photovoltaic systems have shown rapid development in recent years. This talk will provide an overview of some of the different power electronics architectures and monitoring systems currently available and under development for grid-tied photovoltaic systems. A more detailed description on how these systems work and their benefits will be given for the power optimization and monitoring solutions in National Semiconductors SolarMagic™ product family.

Bio: Perry Tsao Perry Tsao joined National Semiconductor in 2008, where he is working as a Renewable Energy Technologist with the Renewable Energy Business Unit. His current work focuses on developing modeling and analysis tools for PV systems. Prior to joining National Semiconductor, Perry studied at MIT where he received his BS in electrical engineering and computer science in 1997.

His work in power electronics and alternative energy systems started with his Ph.D. thesis at UC Berkeley where he designed and built a flywheel energy storage system. After graduation in 2003, Perry worked on hybrid electric military vehicles at BAE Systems in San Jose. There he developed control systems and power electronics for a large Li-Ion battery pack. In 2005, he joined the start up venture, Oorja Protonics in Fremont, CA and designed fuel cell systems for use in fork-lifts and other small electric vehicles.

Presentation Slides


February 17, 2010: "Aggregated Dispatchable Loads: Beyond Traditional Demand Response" by Dr. Alec Brooks, Google

Abstract: Today, the power grid is operated largely by controlling generation to match load. As ever-greater amounts of intermittent renewable generation sources are added to the grid, it will become increasingly difficult to achieve the overall balance of generation and load with the current approach. Active control of load offers a new capability to help manage the grid. Aggregated dispatchable loads will be able to provide grid services well beyond traditional demand response.

These services can help compensate for the variability of some renewable generation sources. Loads that participate in providing these services could realize a reduced cost of electricity. The talk will go through some fundamentals of how power grids operate and describe how loads could be controlled to provide some of the same grid services that are currently performed by powerplants. An example of how plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles could provide these services will be presented.

Bio: Alec Brooks joined Google in 2008 where he is working in the areas of renewable energy and integration of plug-in vehicles into the power grid. Previously, Alec worked on vehicle and aircraft projects at Tesla Motors, AC Propulsion, and AeroVironment.

At AeroVironment he led the development of the GM SunRaycer solar racing car and later led the development of the GM Impact electric vehicle, the forerunner of the EV1. At AC Propulsion, he spearheaded the development of concepts by which vehicles could supply ancillary service functions to the power grid and coined the shorthand term "V2G" to describe this technology. Later at AeroVironment he was chief engineer for the Global Observer high altitude hydrogen powered unmanned aircraft.

At Tesla Motors he developed and demonstrated how smart vehicle charging can perform grid ancillary services even without bidirectional power flow.

He obtained Ph.D and M.S. in Civil Engineering at Caltech, B.S. in Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley.


March 17th, 2010
, "Cost-Effective Grid-Scale Energy Storage" by Bill Gray

Abstract: Velkess has demonstrated a novel energy storage technology for large scale grid connected storage applications. Initial production systems will provide storage at < 1/10th the cost and 2x the efficiency of the best currently available systems (NaS batteries).

Clean Energy sources like wind, solar, and tidal produce power on nature's schedule and are unable to raise or lower output to meet highly variable demand. This severely undermines their economic value and puts a low (technical) limit on potential market share. By storing excess energy produced at high output times for use later, large scale energy storage capacity can eliminate this problem and make wind the cheapest energy in the market. Presently available technologies are unable to provide bulk storage for these applications profitably, or at such large scale, due to high cost.

Bio: Bill Gray js the inventor of Velkess's core technologies, including Velkess's Floating Rotor Electrostatic Motor Generator and Self-Stabilizing Flexible Flywheel Configuration. Previous to starting Velkess, Bill was CEO of HereThere Designs, a revolutionary company that developed novel fabrication techniques and consumer products, conforming to the "Zero Pollution Footprint" ideal.

Before starting HereThere, Bill was an associate with Signal Equity Partners, a $100M Venture Capital fund in NYC, investing in later stage Telecommunications and Internet technology companies. Previous to Signal, Bill worked with a number of groups in NYC developing the systems and technology teams that formed the foundations of many successful "Silicon Alley" internet companies.


A.B. Harvard College Economics

Presentation Slides

April 21st, 2010, "Switched-Capacitor Converters: Big and Small" by Michael Seeman

Abstract: Switched-capacitor (SC) DC-DC converters have historically been relegated to utilitarian low-power applications where high efficiency and regulation have not been important. Through our recent developments in analyzing SC converters, their suitability for a wide range of applications has become apparent. Two applications of SC converters. First, an integrated wireless sensor node power conditioning circuit will be presented with a standby power of less than 6 uW. Finally, an on-die power conversion circuit for microprocessors will be discussed.

Bio: Michael Seeman received S.B. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics from MIT in 2004 and received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from U.C. Berkeley in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Michael performed research under the supervision of Prof. Seth Sanders on switched-capacitor DC-DC converter fundamentals and applications. His research on energy conversion ICs for wireless sensor nodes earned him a best paper award at PESC 2008. Dr. Seeman is now working at Solar Semiconductor Inc. as a Senior Design Engineer in their power management group.

April Presentation Slides

May 19th, 2010 ,
"Behind The Scenes At IEEE Spectrum" byTEKLA S. PERRY, Senior Editor, IEEE Spectrum

Abstract: You've seen this publication for as long as you've been an IEEE member. A veteran editor will tell you how it's changed, how the editorial process really works, and what being a technology journalist today is like in a world of podcasts and blogs and youtube. For anyone who has ever thought about writing an article for a technology magazine, who might be interviewed by the technology press, or is simply a curious reader.


TEKLA covers consumer electronics, electronics and the environment, and high-tech startups from Spectrum's west coast office in the heart of Silicon Valley, just a few blocks from Stanford University. Her feature articles, podcasts, blog posts, videos, and product reviews typically look at the people as well as the technology behind the news. In 2008, she spearheaded Spectrum's coverage of the U.S. transition to digital television; her multimedia report on a new battery technology and the engineer behind it, "The Lady and the Li-On," was featured on public radio's nationally syndicated program,

"Here and Now." Tekla's a long-time Spectrum veteran; her articles on Xerox Parc, the Atari VCS, the birth of the graphical user interface, global warming, and the problems of the U.S. air traffic control system (which won an award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors) have become oft-referenced classics. She received a B.A. degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

B.A., Michigan State University


June 16th, 2010 , "Formula-Hybrid Research at SJSU" by gan: Project Manager

Abstract: Formula-Hybrid@SJSU is a multi-disciplinary engineering project aimed at building an electric-gas formula-style vehicle. Based on a strict rulebook, the team designed, analyzed, fabricated, tested, and finally competed their car at the annual Formula-Hybrid competition in early May. "Athena", the name of the 572 pound electrically-powered race car, took 2nd in her category and 12th place overall.

The project, doubling as a senior design capstone for both mechanical and electrical engineers, was funded by sponsorships and donations from various local companies including the IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section. The team plans to raise the bar in 2011, building a full parallel hybrid with integrated data management systems.


The team is made up of fifteen Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Senior Design students. In support of the senior design team is a group of underclassmen who learn from the seniors. The project is broken down into three teams: Chassis Team led by John Monson, junior, ME Powertrain Team led by Carlos Velasco, senior, ME Electronics Team led by Mahdi Ashktorab, senior, EE Project Manager is Joshua Hogan, junior, ME

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October 12th, 2010 Is it the End of the Road for Silicon in Power Management? “How Big Things” Happen In America.


Dr. Alex Lidow


For the past three decades, power management efficiency and cost have shown steady improvement as innovations in power MOSFET structures, technology, and circuit topologies have paced the growing need for electrical power in our daily lives. In the last few years, however, the rate of improvement has slowed as the silicon power MOSFET has asymptotically approached its theoretical bounds. We will address the new game-changing power management products, available today and planned for the near future, that are built on Gallium Nitride grown on top of a silicon substrate.

Enhancement mode devices, first introduced in June 2009, will be demonstrated in DC-DC conversion and Class D audio applications. GaN roadmaps for improved device performance and for system-on-chip integration will also be discussed. Performance is only one dimension on the equation leading to the conclusion that GaN-on-silicon is a game-changer. The other dimensions are product reliability and cost.

These topics will also be discussed showing that the capability to displace silicon across a significant portion of the power management market is now in hand.


Alex Lidow is Co-founder and CEO of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC). EPC designs, develops, and produces Gallium-Nitride-on-Silicon transistors and integrated circuits used in power management. Prior to founding EPC, Dr. Lidow was chief executive officer of International Rectifier Corporation, a company he joined in 1977. A co-inventor of the HEXFET power MOSFET, Dr. Lidow holds many patents in power semiconductor technology and has authored numerous publications on related subjects.

BS Applied Physics Caltech in 1975
PhD Applied Physics, Stanford 1977 (Hertz Foundation Fellow)

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