Power electronics are the heart of everything from smartphones to high-voltage cables, and for the major players in the industry it is important to be in Aalborg if you want to be at the forefront of development. The Department of Energy Technology at Aalborg University (AAU) has become a mecca for power electronics.
Right now multinational companies such as Danfoss, Vestas, Sanken, China State Grid, and Fuji Electric are on campus – they locate in the research environment and work with the Department of Energy Technology in order to be close to the latest research. In addition, the department has signed collaboration agreements with Huawei, Woodward, Schneider, Vishay and Tennet, and even more companies are on the way.
Interest from the business community is directly linked to AAU's leading position when it comes to research in power electronics, believes Frede Blaabjerg, the world's leading researcher in the field.
- Looking at the research on the subject, AAU is number one in the world. There is no one else up at our level. Some institutions may be larger or have more financial muscle, but when you look at scientific production, we are in the lead, says Professor Frede Blaabjerg, AAU.
He is head of the Center of Reliable Power Electronics (CORPE) at the Department of Energy Technology at AAU, and his research in power electronics has made him the world's most cited researcher in the engineering field.
Collaboration benefits both parties
In 2018, the Confederation of Danish Industry again designated AAU as the Danish university best at working with the business community. AAU has a tradition of close ties with the business community; Dorte Stigaard, Director of Innovation, AAU, believes this benefits both parties.
- More than ever, collaboration is a high priority, strategic action area for AAU. In a globalized world with fierce competition and high mobility, world-class research and access to skilled labor is crucial for attracting global businesses. Collaboration between the researchers in the Department of Energy Technology and strong global companies is a great example of exactly what we strive for in our strategy, "Knowledge for the World," says Dorte Stigaard, Director of Innovation.
Among the international companies with a presence in the Department of Energy Technology are the Japanese company Fuji Electric, an energy giant with over 25,000 employees and a market value of USD 5 billion.
- Fuji Electric has a system for sending researchers to research facilities abroad, and we want to send them to where they can best study and grow with good guidance. The researchers at CORPE at AAU take great care of our visiting researchers, says Akio Toba, General Manager, Fuji Electric, Japan.
Fuji Electric regularly relocates development staff to Aalborg where they have an office at the Department of Energy Technology and work side by side with AAU researchers. Akio Toba says that Fuji’s presence at AAU directly benefits the company in three ways:
-1) We gain in the development of our researchers in terms of technology, way of thinking and doing research, and world-wide communications. 2) We gain technological assets directly generated from our collaborative research. 3) We develop human networks with the people in and related to CORPE at AAU, says Akio Toba, Fuji Electric.
Aalborg is ready for the next business adventure
In recent years, North Denmark’s leading position in the field of power electronics has created a situation where the high level of the research environment attracts even more businesses and top researchers, which in turn raises the level further.
- We have reached critical mass in Aalborg, which reinforces itself. In addition to our own people, the brightest professionals from around the world come to conduct research here. They have their own projects and funding, and want to be in Aalborg to network and collaborate with our research environment, says Professor Frede Blaabjerg.
According to Mogens Rysholt Poulsen, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science at AAU, companies in the industry have realized that there is great value in being located so close to a strong research environment.
The university is now ready to become the center for another business cluster as we are negotiating with even more multinational companies that want to establish development departments in North Denmark.
- Like mobile technology 20 years ago, power electronics is a field that is about to explode in importance right now. And just like back then, AAU is spearheading this trend. We expect that power electronics will be a growth engine for Aalborg of the same caliber that mobile technology was in the 90s and 00s, says Dean Mogens Rysholt Poulsen.
Frede Blaabjerg, Professor, Department of Energy Technology, AAU, firstname.lastname@example.org, +45 21 29 24 54
Hiva Ahmadi, Press Contact, AAU, email@example.com, +45 22 20 68 69