Google has finally released the name of Little Box Challenge winner. And the winner is… CE+T Power with it’s Red Electrical Devil’s team (named after the Belgium national soccer team). The judges from Google, IEEE Power Electronics and NREL declared them as far winners of the contest. Second place comes to Schneider Electric and third place to Virginia Tech’s Future Energy Electronics Center.
The Little Box Challenge was a contest launched by Google in July 2014. They promised a 1Million $ prize to whoever was capable of reaching a specific power density. As they described it, the objective was to shrink an Kilowatt-scale inverter in the size of a pizza box, which in other words, comes close to 50W/in³ or 3.05W/cm³.
We already talked about the challenge when it was announced and when the 18 finalists names were released. More than 2,000 teams registered for the competition and the committee reviewed and validated 80 proposals. The 18 finalists had to bring their inverters in person at NREL test lab and go under all listed validations and tests.
According to NREL, most competing teams used either Silicon Carbide (SiC) or Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices. This confirms that reaching this kind of specifications is made way easier using Wide Band Gap devices.
Schneider Electric, Virginia TEch and CE+T Power all built a 2kW inverter that passed all the tests (100 hours on a bench), and matched to the competition specifications. They not only managed to reach the 50W/in³ requirements and challenged it and went way over it.