Technical Education at Global Research—Power Electronics
Hello, my name is Dave Shoudy and I am in the Edison Engineering Development Program at GE Global Research. During the first year of the Edison program, we take a series of classes known as A Course. Each class covers a new topic area and is taught by one of our own experts in that field. This week’s class on Power Electronics was given by Owen Schelenz, who primarily works with large power electronics that connect to power systems. The class covered the various mechanisms in which electrical energy is converted on the large and small scale, and then dived deeper into the technical details of inverters, rectifiers, DC/DC converters (buck and boost), and the applications of power electronics (wind, solar, appliances, etc.).
As an Electrical Engineer, though not one who has focused on power electronics, this class was particularly rewarding to learn about the technical details of these systems. The homework assignment for this week forced us to apply this new knowledge to evaluate switching losses in power converters, understand non-idealities of the power devices, and design basic rectifier and DC/DC converter circuits for a set of given parameters. It is through this application of knowledge where you really learn.
After the class, I caught up with Owen to learn more about his background and get his perspective on teaching A course. Owen, an Edison program graduate, is now in his 3rd year of teaching the A course Power Electronics class. He is excited by this field largely due to the general push for greater renewable energy and electrification of previously mechanical coupled systems. This trend makes power electronics an exciting and rapidly growing field. Owen instills this passion for Power Electronics and makes his class one of the best by tailoring the lecture to the students’ backgrounds and providing a wealth of funny and interesting stories about applications and past experiences with Power Electronics.
Owen’s personal highlights from the class were the moments when there was good student-instructor interaction and the “aha” moments when he can really tell that an understanding for the topic is being attained. Other highlights come from sharing real-world application information to help drive home the concepts (for example, to show how real EMI problems can be, Owen shared a video of cell phone and oven interaction.
Outside of work, Owen keeps busy with many small projects. He enjoys sailing and loves to tinker. In his free time, he has built a homemade Segway…amazing!
I hope you have enjoyed learning about Power Electronics and Owen. Feel free to leave any questions or comments for me or Owen in the comment box below. Over the course of the next few months, you will hear from several of the Edison’s about the various classes that we are taking.
Until the next time, take care!