The global environment is changing rapidly, and net zero by 2050 has become the consensus of the world's governments and industries. Taiwan, a major global manufacturing hub, be it in environmental protection or industrial development, must be committed to promoting green energy and pursuing sustainable development. National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) has cooperated with industry to actively develop technologies and cultivate professionals in this area, thereby laying the foundation for Taiwan's energy transformation.
Cheng-Chien Kuo, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Distinguished Professor at NTUST, said that in facing the global goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, Taiwan must respond early in order to smoothly promote its energy transition and grasp the huge business opportunities that will follow in its wake. For Taiwan's net-zero transition, its government has formulated a 12-point strategy, of which the budget for power systems and energy storage accounts for 24% of the overall policy. The reason for such a high proportion is that these two technologies are key to the emergence of green energy system benefits.
Kuo further pointed out that the green energy grid structure will change from its current centralized model to one that is decentralized. Since the main technologies of green energy that often used in Taiwan, solar energy, and wind energy cannot provide stable power, it is necessary to store electricity through energy storage devices, and then manage the grid through smart technology systems to realize energy transition. In order to help speed up the pace of transformation, NTUST contributed through its own actions. Since 2017, it has independently developed an energy storage and renewable energy management system (EMS), which can not only stably control operation of energy equipment, but also accurately depict the state of the power grid. It uses IEC61850 communication technology to provide for TPC's power grid regulations and provides appropriate auxiliary services. It is currently in full-fledged operation and has cooperated with many industries. In addition, with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, two laboratories have been set up, one for wind-power system monitoring and fault diagnosis and one for solar photovoltaic system integration and monitoring in the same environment as the actual field. As mentioned above, research and development results of the laboratory also have many practical cases. For example, NTUST has provided solutions and technical support in Changhua Binhai's solar optoelectronics, Micronesia's energy storage project, and TPC's Kinmen energy storage and energy management system.
The Center for Power Electronic Technologies focuses on "energy creation," "energy conservation," and "energy storage." Many of NTUST's professors are in charge of guiding students in developing forward-looking technologies in each of the three major aspects, so as to achieve the goal of production through education, as well as accelerating corporate R&D and upgrading.
In addition, gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC), both regarded as key technologies of next-gen power systems, are also recent priorities in research and development at NTUST. Huang-Jen Chiu, dean of the Office of Research and Development at NTUST, pointed out that this new generation of compound semiconductors with high voltage resistance, low on-resistance, and low switching loss will play a key role in 5G, electric vehicles, and other systems.
NTUST has developed a high power density, low profile power module that can be used in 5G serve systems, and the adapter designed with GaN devices has also entered the commercialization stage. In addition, NTUST has also invested in high power wireless power transfer technology, which can provide fast wireless charging for automated guided vehicles (AGVs), robots for use in the pandemic, as well as drones and other equipment.
Professional talent is fundamental for national development. Chiu mentioned that NTUST attaches great importance to the cultivation of real-world professionals. That is why, since 2014, it has started various industry master's programs and research and development elite industry doctoral programs; it has also cooperated with industries to cultivate professionals for the energy industry. At present, hundreds of such professionals have been fostered. In addition to the master's and doctoral programs, the Academia-Industry Research Center (AIR Center) was also jointly established between NTUST and Delta. The company assists in the establishment of experimental sites, provides scholarships, off-campus internships, resources for engineering practice, and support with valuable instruments. The Ministry of Science and Technology also subsidizes the center's funds, and through the cooperation of industry, government, and academia, it will strengthen the energy talent base in Taiwan.
Chiu emphasized that professionals are the key to industrial development. NTUST is a key school in technical and vocational education in Taiwan. In addition to actively investing in the research and development of forward-looking technological trends, it also spares no effort in talent cultivation. In addition to the above-mentioned industry master's and doctoral programs, NTUST has also established an industry-academia innovation college, which includes three major scientific and technological research institutes: smart manufacturing, interdisciplinary artificial intelligence, and energy sustainability. In the future, there will be looser restrictions in higher education and sharing of resources and R&D results with partner companies. Through the joint investment of international industrial talent cultivation and new innovative teams, it will inject new, vital energy into the development of Taiwan's industries.
Huang-Jen Chiu (left), dean of the Office of Research and Development, and Cheng-Chien Kuo (right), chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Distinguished Professor at NTUST.
Photo: DIGITIMES Asia