Eaton backs ground-breaking HYPERRIDE joint research into DC grids

August 31, 2020

ROZTOKY, Czech Republic … Power management company Eaton today announced that it is embarking on ground-breaking research into the real-world implementation of DC and hybrid ACDC grids. The $7.5 million project, HYPERRIDE (HYbrid Provision of Energy based on Reliability and Resiliency via Integration of DC Equipment), will develop circuit breakers for optimized and automated DC power systems, as well as create new charging infrastructure to support electric aircraft.

Supported by the Austrian Institute of Technology, with funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program, the HYPERRIDE project consortium includes industrial and academic partners like SCiBreakZelisko and the Engineering Group, as well as RWTH Aachen University. Eaton’s Power Distribution Division will support two distinct HYPERRIDE sub-programs to:

  • Develop, build and test a prototype hybrid medium-voltage DC (MVDC) circuit breaker
  • Design and simulate a low-voltage DC microgrid controller for charging electrical Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft

“We’re delighted to receive funding for this exciting research, as well as to invest in it ourselves,” says Stefan Costea, regional technology manager, Eaton Research Labs. “Protection in DC power systems is challenging, especially for medium-voltage grids. Traditional circuit breakers are too slow and cannot extinguish the arc in DC power systems, while solid state circuit breakers are prohibitively expensive for voltages above 1,500V. Meanwhile, the market for electric aircraft is growing fast, but suitable charging infrastructure has yet to be developed. To solve these problems, we’re thrilled to be collaborating both internally and externally—harnessing the expertise of partners in industry and academia, as well as our own cross-business experience in power distribution, microgrids, and energy storage.”

Developed with SCiBreak, the hybrid 14kV MVDC circuit breaker will enhance grid optimization, cyber security, and error detection—preventing faults from causing a cascade of effects. The circuit breaker design will be based on SCiBreak’s voltage-source converter assisted resonant current (VARC) technology and Eaton’s proprietary vacuum mechanical interrupter solutions.

The project prototypes will be validated by demonstrations in three different countries—at DC grids run by the Flexible Electrical Networks (FEN) Research Campus in Aachen, Germany, and the municipal distribution system operator in Terni, Italy, as well as at the high-power test lab overseen by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

Meanwhile, research into charging eVTOL aircraft will be based on current aerospace specifications and Eaton’s existing microgrid controllers. Once the necessary control algorithms are designed and implemented, a working prototype for ground-based charging infrastructure will be validated in a real-world industrial environment.

“Sustainability is now a top priority the world over and we’re very proud to be helping to drive the global transition to a low-carbon future,” adds Jörgen von Bodenhausen, senior manager for Government Programs, Germany. “By making an innovative contribution to future ACDC grids, we’ll enable customers to harness renewable energy more easily and support the transition to electric vehicles. Our commitment to driving real-world testing and validation early on also means we can identify and overcome barriers to integrating this new infrastructure successfully—ultimately accelerating commercialization and deployment.”

Eaton’s mission is to improve the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. We provide sustainable solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power – more safely, more efficiently, and more reliably. Eaton’s 2019 revenues were $21.4 billion, and we sell products to customers in more than 175 countries. We have approximately 97,000 employees. For more information, visit Eaton.com.

Contact (for journalist enquiries)

Nathalie Lapoirie, NathalieLapoirie@eaton.com, tel: +41 21 811 46 47