A Digital Twin Collaboration Leads the Charge in Making Power Electronics More Sustainable

Initiative will use digital twins to extend service life and reduce chip sizes.

Disclosure: Shawn Wasserman is a former employee of Ansys Inc. who owns minor Ansys company stock.

Ansys, the engineering simulation software company, has joined forces with a European research initiative named PowerizeD. This joint initiative aims to improve power electronics so that they can become smarter and more efficient. The team-up will be coordinated by Ansys’ longtime customer, the leading semiconductor company Infineon Technologies. In short, Ansys is offering up its digital twin technology and know-how to help the research team make power electronics more environmentally friendly.

To achieve this green effort, PowerizeD has a handful of key objectives, including:

  • Reducing power loss during power conversion by 20 percent.
  • Extending the service life of devices and electrical systems by 30 percent.
  • Reducing chip size by 10 percent.
  • Cutting development times by 50 percent.

“We have to make highly efficient use of energy if we are to achieve net-zero climate protection goals. Digitalization can help here as a highly decisive lever for more energy efficiency,” said Constanze Hufenbecher, chief digital transformation officer at Infineon. “We are pleased to combine our strengths with the strengths of so many excellent partners from research and business to jointly make the ambitious European research initiative PowerizeD a success.”

Digital twins powered by Ansys technology will help the European research initiative PowerizeD improve power electronics. (Image courtesy of Ansys.)

Digital twins powered by Ansys technology will help the European research initiative PowerizeD improve power electronics. (Image courtesy of Ansys.)

The digital twin technologies provided by Ansys will also help to save environmental impacts by reducing the need for prototype testing and extending the life of the eventual product—reducing the need for producing more hardware throughout the lifecycle.

Simulation’s Tricky Relationship with Environmentalism

Simulation has often been touted as a means to make greener products—and it can—but that doesn’t mean engineers should ignore the large environmental effects of simulation technology. Running simulations takes a large amount of computational power and optimizing products for their environmental impact means running those simulations many times over. There are scenarios where the environmental impact of simulation outweighs any benefits the greener product could produce.

It is therefore important to spread this environmental burden around as much as possible, reduce rework and run less-intensive simulations when possible. It’s also best to share the knowledge gleaned from simulation with all those that could benefit from it. It’s clear that this approach is being used by PowerizeD.

“Power electronics [are] key to energy transformation and [are] used anywhere and everywhere that electricity is generated, transferred and used efficiently,” said Dr. Rutger Wijburg, chief operations officer at Infineon. “The broad spectrum of power electronics applications makes it very important that we collaborate with partners across the boundaries of corporate entities and organizations to jointly advance Europe as an innovation engine.”

Ansys is no stranger to the impact its technology can put on the environment. As such, it has initiated similar approaches to reduce, mitigate and spread the burden. This typically is seen by making faster, more efficient software. But with PowerizeD, it also comes with the company’s openness to share.

“Ansys already works closely with many companies involved in the European Research Initiative PowerizeD to help optimize product development and integrate simulation into digitalization efforts,” said Shane Emswiler, senior vice president of products at Ansys. “We look forward to collaborating with the project’s research partners on an interdisciplinary approach to power electronics that will demonstrate the value of an integrated simulation workflow and our compact digital twin technology.”

For more on the topic of simulation’s effects on the environment, read: Can Innovation and Sustainability Coexist in Computer Aided Engineering?

Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at Engineering.com, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.