Integrating High-Density Capacitors to Create Efficient Power Converter

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Blacksburg, Virginia
Project Term:
09/01/2010 - 11/30/2013

Technology Description:

The Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES) at Virginia Tech is developing an extremely efficient power converter that could be used in power adapters for small, light-weight laptops and other types of mobile electronic devices. Power adapters convert electrical energy into usable power for an electronic device, and they currently waste a lot of energy when they are plugged into an outlet to power up. CPES is integrating high-density capacitors, new magnetic materials, high-frequency integrated circuits, and a constant-flux transformer to create its efficient power converter. The high-density capacitors enable the power adapter to store more energy. The new magnetic materials also increase energy storage, and they can be precisely dispensed using a low-cost ink-jet printer which keeps costs down. The high-frequency integrated circuits can handle more power, and they can handle it more efficiently. And, the constant-flux transformer processes a consistent flow of electrical current, which makes the converter more efficient.

Potential Impact:

If successful, CPES would reduce the amount of energy consumed by notebooks and netbooks by 15%.


Reduced energy consumption would help decrease demand for foreign sources of fuel.


Efficient electronic components and devices conserve energy and reduce harmful emissions.


Stand-by energy drain from power adapters accounts for about 10% of an average home’s annual power usage—this amounts to about $4 billion in wasted spending across the U.S. every year.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Timothy Heidel
Project Contact:
Prof. Khai Ngo
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of Texas, Dallas
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