In a project funded by Technology Foundation STW, Haimin Tao examined the conditions a good regulation system for energy transfer must meet. As the sources and storage elements vary considerably in terms of aspects such as voltage level, the conventional conversion technique needed to be improved. The search for improvements focused on soft switching, reduction of current amplitudes and a greater efficiency.
To safeguard the quality of the power flows, the researcher sought the appropriate regulators and storage systems so that the energy generated by external sources could be (temporarily) stored in suitable components, such as batteries and supercapacitors. Eventually he arrived at a triple port system that rendered energy transfer between different sources possible. As the new triple port converter transforms the energy in a single step, it could be more cost effective, flexible and efficient than the conventional approach.
Philips, which participates in the STW users' committee for the research project, saw a marketable idea in the system. Following the testing of an experimental system, a patent was applied for and obtained. Philips might use the patent for future products.