1996 William E. Newell Power Electronics Award Recipient
r. Akira Nabae was born in Ehime, Japan in 1924. He received the B.E. degree from the University of Tokyo in 1947 and the Dr. of Eng. degree from the Waseda University in 1978. He joined Toshiba Corporation in 1951.
From 1951 to 1965 in the Engineering Department at the Tsurumi Works, he was engaged in research and development of mercury-arc rectifiers and their application to AC locomotives, paper mills, and steel and iron mills. He contributed to clarifying the relation between physical phenomena inside the mercury-arc rectifier and electrical properties determined by the external circuit, and succeeded in suppressing the probability of arc-back.
From 1965 to 1978, he was with the Toshiba Heavy Apparatus Engineering Laboratory where he devoted himself to developing power-transistor PWM inverters and AC drive systems. He was a principal contributor to the development of the indirect-method field-oriented control system for induction motors. Concurrently from 1972 to 1978 he was a Lecturer at Waseda University.
In 1978, he retired from the Toshiba Corporation and received an appointment at the Nagaoka University of Technology, a newly established university emphasizing graduate education and industry-university cooperative research. From 1978 to 1990, he was a Professor in the Electrical and Electronics Department, and was a Director of the Power Electronics Laboratory. He invented the neutral-point-clamped inverter (so called NPC inverter or multilevel inverter), which has been adopted by Japanese Railway trains and others. Also, he contributed to the development of an instantaneous reactive power compensator.
In 1990, he moved to the Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics, where he is a Professor of Electronics in the Graduate School and Director of the Education and Research Center for Software Engineering. He is now interested in power electronics applications to three-phase power systems, and has given a new definition of instantaneous active-reactive current and power based on polar coordinates.
He received IEEE IAS Static Power Converter Committee Paper Awards in 1980 and 1983, and IEEJ Transaction Paper Awards in 1985 and 1990. Also, he received the IEEE IAS First Prize Transaction Paper Award in 1991 and the IEEJ Outstanding Achievement Award in 1993. He is a Fellow member of the IEEE and a life member of IEEJ.
Source: Newsletter of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, July 1996 pgs. 1, 10.