The goal of the cooperation is  the development of innovative technologies for power electronics, which is used for the control, conversion and switching of electrical energy with electronic components. Over the next two years, the "SAL Power Hub" will gradually emerge from the existing JOANNEUM Power Electronics Center at FH JOANNEUM Kapfenberg. Since 2014, research has been carried out on power electronics for the future in order to minimize energy losses between the power plant and the socket using ultra-compact power electronics components and thus increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of electricity transmission. 

“I am delighted that FH JOANNEUM and Silicon Austria Labs are working together and pooling their expertise in the field of power electronics. This allows new technologies to be developed and additional competitive advantages to be created for domestic companies. This will further strengthen our business and research location”, says Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Regional Minister for Economy and Research.

Synergies for teaching

Gerald Murauer, Executive Director of SAL:"The cooperation in the field of power electronics between SAL and  FH JOANNEUM creates a win-win situation with enormous potential. The  use of the mutual synergies facilitates the development of power electronics at SAL on the one hand and, on the other hand, FH JOANNEUM can combine the established competences with its teaching and thus offer an even better research-oriented education. I am very much looking forward to working with Hubert Berger, who will lead the SAL Power Hub." Rudolf Krall, Head of Power Electronics at SAL, adds: "I am convinced that the Power Hub will not only create added value for future young talent, but will also better support the domestic industry. This is another step towards successfully strengthening the ecosystem in the field of power electronics, consisting of research, industry and teaching." The Managing Directors of FH JOANNEUM Karl Peter Pfeiffer and Martin Payer: "We are already training tomorrow's electronics experts at our university. In addition to the existing subject-related courses 'Electronics and Computer Engineering' as well as 'System Test Engineering', the dual bachelor's degree program  'Industrial Mechatronics' begins for the first time in the winter semester 2021/2022. In addition, FH JOANNEUM's built-up R&D skills can be strengthened in this cooperation, which also benefits the range of courses available both in terms of access to R&D infrastructure and through practice-oriented training at the highest level."

R&D center with international standards

Hubert Berger, who is currently responsible for R&D at the Institute of Electronic Engineering at FH JOANNEUM, will take over the management of the SAL Power Hub: "We want to jointly establish a strong R&D center in the field of power electronics with international visibility. The focus will be on topics that are tailored to the industry partners and are close to the customer. In line with the general research strategy of the Institute of Electronic Engineering, the development of innovative testing methods for power electronics will also play an important role."

The next step is to best equip the innovation laboratory for R&D priorities, as agreed with SAL. The concepts are very concrete: for example, an electric motor test bench in the typical performance range of hybrid drives with state-of-the-art measuring technology will be purchased. The first projects are already in preparation, including developments for the use of modern power transistors based on gallium nitride (GaN) in electric vehicles.