Keynote Speaker II

June 5, 2017 (Mon.) 09:50 – 10:30
Power Electronics –
key enabling technology for a CO2 neutral electrical energy supply

Prof. Rik W. De Doncker


IEEE Fellow


Director Research CAMPUS Flexible Electrical Networks and E.ON ERC of RWTH Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany

Past president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS)


Prof. Rik W. De Doncker (M'87-SM'99-F'01) received his Ph.D. degree (summa cum laude) in electrical engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium in 1986. In 1987, he was appointed a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he lectured and conducted research on high-performance induction motor drives. In 1988, he was a General Electric Company Fellow in the microelectronic center, IMEC, Leuven, Belgium. In December 1988, he joined the General Electric Company Corporate Research and Development Center, Schenectady, NY, where he led research on drives and high-power soft-switching converters, ranging from 100 kW to 4 MW, for aerospace, industrial, and traction applications. In November 1994, he joined Silicon Power Corporation (formerly GE-SPCO) as Vice President, Technology. He worked on high-power converter systems and MTO devices and was responsible for the development and production of a 15-kV medium-voltage thyristor based transfer switch. Since October 1996, he has been a professor at Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany, where he leads the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives. In Oct. 2006 he was also appointed director of the E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University, where he leads the Institute for Power Generation and Storage Systems.

He has published over 250 technical papers and is holder of 25 patents, with several pending. Currently, Dr. De Doncker is member of the Board of the German engineering Society VDE-ETG. He is an IEEE Fellow and is currently past president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS). He is member of the EPE Executive Council. He was founding Chairman of the German IEEE IAS-PELS Joint Chapter. Dr. De Doncker is recipient of the IAS Outstanding Achievements Award and the IEEE Power Engineering Custom Power Award (2008). In 2009, he led a VDE/ETG Task Force on Electric Vehicles. In 2010, he became member of the German National Platform for Electromobility.


Awareness of global climate change due to the high consumption of fossil fuels and the expectation of cost increases of primary energy sources in the coming decades has stimulated worldwide research and innovation towards a CO2-free energy environment. To realize this “Energiewende”, i.e. energy transformation, research, development and innovation is required both on the energy supply and the consumption side, as well as on flexible grids and storage systems.

The speaker focuses on key enabling technologies that are pursued in research programs, in particular in Germany and Europe, to prepare the electrical supply system and the grid for an increased use of more decentralized and more volatile, renewable power sources at all voltage levels, i.e. high-voltage transmission, medium- and low-voltage distribution level. As research is not only focused on electrical grids and electrochemical storage systems, but also on low- and high-temperature heat and gas storage systems for medium- and long-term storage capacities, efficient energy conversion systems are required. Such storage systems can already be found as “dual use” storages in buildings, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, in demand side energy management systems for buildings and homes, in the electrification of transportation, most notably in electric vehicles. In all these areas, power electronic energy conversion systems will be used. For such scenario, the speaker will highlight the advantages of DC technology to help future grids to become more efficient, flexible and cost effective.