Ultra Light-weight Bidirectional DC-DC Converters for Electric Aircrafts

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OPEN 2021
Berkeley, California
Project Term:
08/01/2022 - 07/31/2025

Technology Description:

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) will develop ultra-light-weight and efficient DC-DC power converters for electric aircraft. The team will drive power density and efficiency through innovation in the electrical and thermal domains and will apply sophisticated modeling and digital control to achieve system-level scalability, reliability, and fault-detection. If successful, this project will propel a disruptive change in electric aircraft propulsion systems, enabling low-cost, high-efficiency, and highly reliable electric flight DC power conversion and distribution. . UC Berkeley’s design could enable a 12x reduction in weight and a 3-5x reduction in power loss as compared to what is possible today.

Potential Impact:

Efficient and light-weight bidirectional DC-DC power converters are a missing link in electric aircraft design, and their development will open up new aircraft concepts.


Through innovations in power electronics research and thermal management, the UC Berkeley team will develop key technologies crucial to maintaining U.S. leadership in electric flight.


The proposed technology has the potential to greatly reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions while reducing noise pollution at airports across the country.


The design specifies a modular and redundant digital control architecture, which can ultimately yield a low-cost, high-efficiency, and high-performance overall system.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Olga Spahn
Project Contact:
Prof. Robert Pilawa
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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