Mickey Madsen has a strong technical background with both a MSc.EE and PhD in power electronics and several scientific publications and patents. He has received several awards, among them Semikron Innovation Award from the European Center for Power Electronics and PhD of the year award from the Technical University of Denmark. Mr Madsen is the CEO and founder of Nordic Power Converters, which is based on his technical breakthrough in power converters offering highly miniaturized LED drivers with increased reliability and extended lifetime. As CEO he is involved in all aspects of the business, but with a high focus on pushing the technology further, strategic partnerships, product roadmap and intellectual property.
Miniaturization of LED Drivers
The efficacy of LEDs has improved 10-fold and seen equivalent price erosion over the past decade. The increased efficacy has led to reduced power dissipation and hence reduced need for cooling. All leading to smaller luminaires with a higher design freedom and reduced cost. The LED drivers needed to supply and control the LEDs have however not seen the same great improvements. Prices have decreased with volumes, but are starting to stagnate. Further the LED drivers remain big and bulky and are the number one cause of failures in LED products. New innovations are hence needed for the LED driver to catch up with the development of LED and to meet the market requirements.
The volume and cost of SMPSs are mainly governed by passive energy storing elements (inductors and capacitors). The value, size and price of these scales with the switching frequency and a dramatic increase in switching frequency will hence lead to highly increased power density and reduced cost. For hard-switched SMPSs this will however result in severe switching losses, which will ruin the efficiency and cause system failure. By combining circuits from the RF industry with the design methodology of power electronics, it is possible to design new SMPS topologies, which ideally eliminates these switching losses. In this way, it becomes possible to increase the switching frequency with two orders of magnitude (into the Very High Frequency range) and hence achieve a huge increase in power density and comparable cost reduction. The reduced need for passive energy storing elements also enables removal of heavy and bulky magnetics components and temperature sensitive electrolytic capacitors. This makes the LED drivers more reliable and robust towards vibrations and mechanical stress. Further it reduces the impact on heat on the LED drivers lifespan and hence enables longer lifetime on the overall luminaire and deeper integration of LEDs, LED drivers, heatsink and luminaire.
Research has been performed within this field for more than two decades, but it is only recently that the results have been good enough to make this technology commercially feasible. The first commercial LED drivers with this technology have just launched and significant further improvements are expected over the coming years. The presentation will cover both details about the technology and examples of practical implementations and products.