About the Plenary Sessions

The APEC Plenary Session continues the long-standing tradition of addressing issues of immediate and long-term interest to the practicing power electronics engineer.

Plenary Sessions at APEC 2023

The APEC Plenary Session continues the long-standing tradition of addressing issues of immediate and long-term interest to the practicing power electronic engineer. The APEC plenary presentations typically have been from invited distinguished professionals. Please note that all times listed below are in Eastern Time.

Date: Monday, March 20, 2023

Time: 1:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Location: Hall WA3 (Level 2)

Can't make it to Orlando? Watch the plenary live on Monday, March 20th on IEEE TV.


1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Opening Welcome by General Chair (Pradeep Shenoy)

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1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Recycling, Refining, and Remanufacturing Battery Materials

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Patrick Chapman
Vice President, Electrical Engineering
Redwood Materials

Patrick Chapman is Vice President of Electrical Engineering at Redwood Materials. Prior to that, he spent 15 years in the solar power industry, where he co-founded SolarBridge Technologies and held senior leadership positions at SunPower and Enphase Energy. He started his career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as Assistant and Associate Professor, focusing on power electronics, renewable energy, and motor drives. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Abstract: The supply of lithium-ion batteries is limiting the adoption of electric vehicles and stationary storage. This battery supply, in turn, is limited by the availability of critical materials for both anode and cathode components. Dr. Chapman will discuss how these battery-grade materials can be manufactured from recycled batteries and how this promotes a circular supply chain, thereby reducing their cost and environmental footprint. He will also discuss the challenges for power electronics technology with respect to battery materials recycling, refining, and remanufacturing.

2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Developing the Tools of Tomorrow: Efficient and Effective Power Electronics for Power Tools

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Brandon Verbrugge
Senior Vice President – Cordless Systems and Technology
Milwaukee Tools

Mr. Verbrugge first joined Milwaukee Tool in 2007 and oversees platform and systems development for the company’s electrical and electronics technologies including batteries, motors, electronics, and firmware. He has over 22 years of experience in the power tool industry, has worked across 3 different continents, and holds more than 30 U.S. and global patents. Prior to Milwaukee Tool he held engineering leadership positions with Polaris Industries and Stanley Black & Decker. Mr. Verbrugge has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Walden University.

Abstract: The power tool industry has been revolutionized by significant advances in power electronics and digitalization. Cordless battery-operated tools are rapidly displacing corded power tools and products with small gas engines. Significant advances in power devices and embedded electronics helped fuel this conversion as most power tools now utilize high performance lithium ion batteries and brushless motors with advanced control algorithms. Through these advances, the construction space has naturally benefited from products with significantly higher capability, more user functionality, and much higher energy conversion efficiency. Looking forward, the journey will continue to achieve a completely digital and green jobsite fueled by higher capability energy conversion devices and microelectronics. This Plenary will walk through key aspects of the recent revolution in the power tool industry and will explain the fundamental attributes that will continue to deliver Efficient and Effective Electronics for Power Tools.

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Designing for Manufacturability with Software-Based Constraints: Shortening the Iterative Design Cycle

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Grant Pitel
Magna-Power Electronics

Grant Pitel received a B.S. degree from Cornell University, with a concentration in digital signal processing and minor in computer science. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a research focus on digital control in power electronics and life-cycle behavior of Li-ion batteries. He joined Magna-Power Electronics full-time in 2010 as Director of Engineering, where he was instrumental in architecting the all-digital x-Generation platform for the company's wide range of programmable dc power supplies and electronic loads. Grant has established Magna-Power’s electrical, mechanical, software, and chemical engineering teams to support the diverse technical areas needed for power electronics and vertically-integrated manufacturing. As Chief Technology Officer, his experience and history at Magna-Power regularly draws him into high-level technical problems with customers, production, and company workflows/processes. He is a senior IEEE member and has served on numerous IAS and PELS committees, published papers and magazine articles, reviewed papers, supported conferences in many positions, and recently co-founded the Princeton/Philadelphia IAS/PELS local chapter.

Abstract: With a small diverse team of engineers, Magna-Power Electronics offers over 365,0000 different programmable power supplies and electronic loads, spanning ratings up to 10,000 Adc, 10,000 Vdc, and 3,000 kW. Such a high mix is supported by parameterizing design inputs, creating frameworks, and platforming hardware whenever possible. Hardware reuse and limiting new complexity ensures prototypes are manufacturable, reduces costly revisions, and helps launch new products faster. Constraints based on physics, machinery tolerances, and human error were discovered, and programmed into software as a way to consistently and continuously improve designs and processes over the company’s 42-year history. This keynote demonstrates the advanced features available in commercial software packages leveraged by Magna-Power engineers to achieve work efficiency as well as custom tools it has developed independently. The talk focuses on areas of PCB design, electronic packaging, and large-scale embedded software development by following prototypes through to production, illustrating the impact rules/recipes/platforms have on machinery, testing, and staff.

3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

GaN for EV Power Train: Breakthroughs and Challenges

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Tamara Baksht
CEO & Co-Founder
VisIC Technologies

Dr. Tamara Baksht's background education is from Tomsk State University, Russia, where she studied Philosophy and Physics. Going forward, she gained a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University, focusing on GaAs and GaN HEMTs. Tamara started to work on GaN HEMT in Gal El (MMIC), part of the Israel Aircraft Industry.

Tamara is one of the pioneers of GaN transistors design and development, covering wide power and frequency ranges. She has years of experience running multi-disciplinary GaN projects, defining work plans, budgeting, reporting, transferring products to production, and providing customer support.

In 2010 Tamara co-founded VisIC Technologies with III-V semi-technology expert Gregory Bunin, and she has been leading the company ever since.

Abstract: The mobility industry is living through the most dramatic changes since the invention of the internal combustion engine and the standardization of the manufacturing process. Society and governments are looking for zero-emission transport, while car makers are seeking the most efficient way to manufacture low-cost and long-distance electric cars. In this context, inverter efficiency became the critical performance parameter, and semiconductors with low loss switching energy, such as SiC and GaN are getting into the spotlight. In this keynote the successful development of a three-phase GaN-based inverter reference design with 400V bus voltage and 400A RMS current is discussed and the results are presented. The major steps on the way from semiconductor chip design, through module development and to full current inverter operation are discussed, chosen solutions explained and results are presented. The main challenges include robust high current > 100A GaN die, with low parametric shift because of repetitive unclamped switching tests up to 1600V; driving 4 dies in parallel to obtain equal current sharing, smooth waveform at needed current and obtaining low voltage overshoots on the gate and on the drain.

4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Silicon Carbide Mass Commercialization and Future Trends

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Victor Veliadis
Executive Director & CTO
Power America

Dr. Victor Veliadis is Executive Director and CTO of PowerAmerica, a member-driven wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor power electronics consortium. At PowerAmerica, he has managed a budget of $150 million that he strategically allocated to over 200 industrial and University projects to accelerate WBG semiconductor and power electronics manufacturing, workforce development, and job creation. His PowerAmerica educational activities have trained 420 full-time students in collaborative industry/University WBG projects, and engaged over 4300 attendees in tutorials, short courses, and webinars. Dr. Veliadis is an ECE Professor at NCSU and an IEEE Fellow and EDS Distinguished Lecturer. He has 27 issued U.S. patents, 6 book chapters, and over 140 peer-reviewed publications. Prior to entering academia and taking an executive position at Power America in 2016, Dr. Veliadis spent 21 years in the semiconductor industry where his work included design, fabrication, and testing of SiC devices, GaN devices for military radar amplifiers, and financial and operations management of a commercial semiconductor fab. He has a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from John Hopkins University (1995).

Abstract: Silicon devices are dominating power electronics due to their excellent starting material quality, streamlined fabrication, low-cost volume production, proven reliability and ruggedness, and design/circuit legacy. Although Si power devices continue to make progress, they are approaching their operational limits primarily due to their relatively low bandgap and critical electric field that result in high conduction and switching losses, and poor high temperature performance. SiC power devices offer compelling system benefits including high efficiency, high voltage/temperature operation, and low weight and volume. In particular, SiC is key in addressing environmental concerns and is gaining significant market share boosted by volume insertion in electric vehicles. This keynote will explore remaining barriers to SiC commercialization including higher than silicon device cost, reliability and ruggedness concerns, and the need for a trained workforce to skillfully insert SiC into power electronics systems. Fab models and the vibrant SiC manufacturing infrastructure, which mirrors that of Si, will be presented in terms of the rapid expansion to meet demand. Finally, the co-existence of Si, SiC, and GaN will be discussed, and their respective competitive advantages highlighted.

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Developing the Power Electronics Workforce Through MOOC Degree Programs and Public Educational Videos

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Robert W. Erickson
Professor, Electrical Computer and Energy Engineering
Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering
University of Colorado Boulder

Robert Erickson is Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he has served as department Chair and has led the development of new Professional Master’s degree programs and a new MOOC-based online MSEE program. He is an author of the textbook Fundamentals of Power Electronics. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and is a recipient of the William E Newell award. He also is CTO and co-founder of BREK Electronics Corp. He earned the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.



Katherine A. Kim
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
National Taiwan University

Katherine A. Kim is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at National Taiwan University (NTU), Taipei, Taiwan. Dr. Kim received the Excellent Teaching Award at NTU in 2020 and 2021, and the IEEE PELS Award for Achievements in Power Electronics Education in 2022. Her “KatKimShow” YouTube channel of engineering lecture videos has over 80,000 subscribers with 9.5 million views. Dr. Kim has been recognized with the IEEE PELS Richard M. Bass Outstanding Young Power Electronics Engineer Award in 2019 and as an Innovator Under 35 for the Asia Pacific Region by the MIT Technology Review in 2020. From 2014-2018, she was an Assistant Professor of ECE at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, where she received an Outstanding Teaching Award in 2015. She received the B.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 2007 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ECE from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Dr. Kim strives to make power electronics education more accessible and engaging for people worldwide.

Abstract: Cultivation of a workforce with expertise in power electronics is crucial to building the future of clean energy, transportation electrification, and other emerging technologies. Until recently, traditional on-campus degree programs were the only way to gain a comprehensive power electronics education. Online education has opened the doors to broader accessibility of power electronics education. This talk will discuss a massively open online course (MOOC) degree program and public educational videos to develop the power electronics workforce, including survey results, successes, and challenges.

A unique MOOC-based MSEE program has been offered by the University of Colorado Boulder, with emphasis in Power Electronics and Embedded Systems Engineering. The program is tailored to the needs of working professionals. The courses are taught at the same level as regular on-campus graduate courses, with online homework assignments that feature automated grading and that foster high student engagement at a distance. A performance-based admissions policy provides an egalitarian and streamlined online admission process. A new curricular structure employs short course lengths based on the subject requirements rather than on the traditional 15-week semester. This accredited program offers both noncredit and credit-bearing versions of its courses, graduate certificates, and MSEE degree. A recent survey of enrolled MSEE students showed that 92% are employed, none are resident students, 68% are 30-49 years old, and that tuition price is an important consideration.

Public educational videos are another expanding area for learning about power electronics. During the coronavirus pandemic, many educators moved their lectures to online videos, but the structure of the lecture did not necessarily change. Today, many video-sharing platforms are widely accessible and well-used by students (such as YouTube), but the videos on these platforms utilize different qualities to engage the viewer. By leveraging shorter videos on one topic, a YouTube style to engage viewers, and making them public on a searchable video platform, power electronics education can reach a wider audience. Positive comments have been left by people around the world at all points of their careers (high school to retirement). These kinds of videos can also be used in on-campus courses using a flipped learning classroom approach that benefits students with various learning styles. Education videos can more effectively engage students and save instructors’ time in the long run. IEEE PELS is also building up IEEE Educational Videos on Power Electronics (PELS Tube), peer-reviewed videos by power electronics experts available to all.

*speakers, times, and topics subject to change.

Prepare for APEC 2023 by experiencing the excitement of past Plenary Sessions on IEEE TV. Watch the APEC 2022 Plenaries by clicking here!