Prof. Heath Hofmann will expand his impact on the field of electric machines and drives in a newly funded project supported by the Bosch Energy Research Network. The research could potentially result in huge energy savings due to the widespread use of these machines and the applicability of Hofmann’s research project to these devices.
Electric machines are used in variable speed drive applications such as the propulsion of hybrid electric vehicles, and there are different methods that engineers consider to achieve similar results. One of the more popular methods requires rare earth materials. However, the cost of these materials has skyrocketed in recent years, leading researchers to consider alternative methods.
A promising candidate that could replace conventional machines in variable-speed drives is the synchronous field winding machine. These machines are constructed of low-cost materials, such as iron and copper, and have relatively low manufacturing cost. However, up to this point, the need to provide power to the field coils on the rotor has created too many associated problems to make this method viable.