POWER ELECTRONICS RESEARCHER NOMINATED FOR KUDOS AWARD

University of Waikato electronics lecturer and researcher Nihal Kularatna's work on novel applications of supercapacitors has seen him nominated in the 2013 KuDos Science Excellence Awards in the Hill Laboratories Science Entrepreneur category.

NEWS, EVENTS & BLOG — Posted on Thursday, 12 September 2013

Reliable power supply is a must when we depend so heavily on electronics – everything from cellphones to whiteware – to get us through the day.

Power interruption is not just frustrating for the consumer, surges caused by lightning strikes and other weather events can damage sophisticated electronic componentry.

But University of Waikato electronics lecturer and researcher Nihal Kularatna of the Faculty of Science & Engineering is investigating new techniques to enhance and protect electronic systems by preventing power supply interruption through battery-like devices called supercapacitors.

His work on novel applications of supercapacitors has seen him nominated in the 2013 KuDos Science Excellence Awards in the Hill Laboratories Science Entrepreneur category.

Supercapacitors have long been used in the electric vehicle and renewable energy industries to improve battery performance. They may look like a regular battery, but they charge much faster and deliver that charge far more rapidly. They also have an almost limitless life cycle with high power density and fast power delivery capability.

On the downside, they hold much less energy than a battery of similar size.

“They have traditionally been used in large-scale applications to improve the performance of conventional batteries but I am looking at using them in more unconventional ways,” Nihal Kularatna says.

Those potential new applications include surge protection technologies that are being commercially developed by Nihal’s research team and for which patents are pending. The general areas of the research include supercapacitor-assisted low drop-out regulators, supercapacitor-assisted surge arrestors and surge-resistant UPS.

The 2013 KuDos Science Excellence Awards winners will be announced on September 26.