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Power Electronics and Renewable Energy Systems


The research program in power electronics and renewable energy systems makes use of new developments in machine and power converter analysis, digital control techniques, and mixed-signal integrated circuits to improve power management and energy utilization in a wide range of electronic systems including battery-powered mobile electronics, high-frequency switching power supplies, and renewable-energy systems.

The department hosts the industry-supported Colorado Power Electronics Center (CoPEC). This center conducts research in high-frequency, high-efficiency power converter technology, advanced analog and digital control techniques, and mixed-signal integrated circuit design for power management and other applications. It also conducts research in power electronics for photovoltaic power sources, and in high efficiency lighting systems.

Graduate Courses

ECEN 5737, Adjustable Speed AC Drives
ECEN 5797, Intro to Power Electronics
ECEN 5807, Modeling and Control of Power Electronics Systems
ECEN 5817, Soft-Switching and Resonant Techniques in Power Electronics

Research Topics

Current research topics include development of advanced digital and analog control techniques and integrated-circuit implementation of controllers for high-efficiency, high-frequency DC power supplies and high-performance low-harmonic rectifiers; study of adaptive power management techniques for digital VLSI and RF electronics; mixed-signal integrated circuit design for low-power sensors; analysis, modeling and mixed-signal control of electronic ballasts for high-efficiency lighting applications; intelligent control of photovoltaic power generation systems; study of voltage and current harmonics in utility systems and components, and design of a novel generator and converter system for wind power.


Khurram Afridi (Ph.D., MIT), power electronics, energy systems.

R.W. Erickson (Ph.D., Caltech), power electronics, control.

D. Maksimovic (Ph.D., Caltech), power electronics.

R. Zane (Ph.D., Colorado), mixed signal IC design, power electronics.


Facilities include the Power Electronics and Renewable Energy Systems Laboratory, which contains up-to-date facilities for construction and testing of switching converters and their control circuitry, at power levels ranging from milliwatts to tens of kilowatts. Network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, and oscilloscopes are available for device characerization, design and testing of high-frequency switching power converter control systems, and for studies of machine, wind, and solar energy systems. Supported by industry-standard design and simulation tools on personal computers, the laboratory is equipped for printed-circuit through-hole and surface-mount prototyping of experimental electronic systems that combine power stages with DSP, FPGA or ASIC-based controllers. State-of-the-art CAD tools are available for design of mixed-signal integrated circuits.

The Power Electronics Teaching Laboratory includes facilities for construction, testing and simulation of switching converters and stand-alone solar power systems. Access to magnetics fabrication, printed circuit board fabrication, and control system testing facilities is available.

Current Research Support

Research assistantships are available through the Colorado Power Electronics Center and through other projects supported by industry and agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Electric Power Research Institute.