Vicor Corporation today announced its industry forecasts for 2022, which cover 3 areas: automotive, high performance computing, and aerospace and defense.
Another year of the COVID-19 crisis has shown that the momentum for innovative power solutions has barely slowed, although this progress comes with its own pitfalls. The three examples below reflect how each industry can take advantage of the rise in electrification and the growing need for modular solutions, among other challenges and trends the industry will experience as we approach the third year of a global pandemic.
Automotive forecasts – Electric vehicles will lose up to 12 kg and manufacturers will look for innovative ways to extend the life of batteries (by Nicholas Richard,
Director of Automotive Business Development in EMEA of Vicor)
Current electric vehicles incorporate up to three separate batteries: a 400V or 800V (traction battery) and a distribution system that is powered by 12V and 48V secondary batteries. Manufacturers are trying to decrease vehicle weight and can eliminate up to 12kg in battery electric vehicles (VEBs) as well as reduce power system complexity by configuring the traction battery to power the loads on the vehicle. 12V battery. This makes the 12V battery redundant and disposable. As 2022 progresses, we expect this modular approach to power to be adopted by OEMs looking to electrify and differentiate their fleets, offering longer range and better overall performance.
We also foresee a boost in the reuse of EV batteries so that they can be used by electric forklifts or as backup power in homes. There is increasing interest from high powered commercial vehicles in the use of hydrogen fuel cells for their power and this will create much greater demand for high efficiency DC/DC conversion.
Finally, within the vehicle itself, ride comfort will also become increasingly important for the driver and passengers. We believe that there will be a much greater demand for active suspension based on an electrical system and this will once again imply the need for more efficient power management solutions.
Forecasts for High Performance Computing – Data center growth will continue to accelerate catalyzed by the pandemic (by Lev Slutskiy, Vicor Regional Director)
In 2022, the global high-performance computing market will continue to grow from about $147.000 billion last year and with an expected average year-on-year growth of 27,4% through 2028 . Among the main factors that will contribute to this growth are increased activity in the cloud, optimization of data centers, social media platforms and the emergence of data as a service.
We think the debate for the adoption of AC or DC power among data center operators will continue to take place. The benefits of DC distribution include the elimination of large AC/DC UPS systems and the worry of spreading IT loads. Modern data centers resort to the more common approach of connecting the building to three-phase AC and then splitting it into three single-phase AC lines backed by their own UPSs.
The trend towards a greater share of renewable “green” energy continues and high voltage DC will be supplied by the primary energy source in a greater number of cases, especially at the edge.
COVID-19 has accelerated data growth and this trend will continue post-pandemic. As 5G is introduced, the network infrastructure will become more complicated as there will be a greater number of computing nodes closer to the user in order to reduce latency and allow the use of IoT applications.
The development of IoT will imply the need for more computing power to improve security and demand for computing power in edge, fog, and centralized applications. Vicor addresses this trend early on by building the smallest and most dense power converters. It is clear that data centers need to reduce their energy consumption by incorporating power dense modules, which in turn minimizes the air-cooled load.
Supply chains continue to be disrupted and we believe these difficulties will continue at least until the end of 2023.
Forecasts for the defense and aerospace sector – Innovation and demand for greater efficiency will continue despite the pandemic and the shortage of qualified personnel (by Teo DeLellis, Vicor Director of Aerospace Business Development)
Innovation and the demand for greater efficiency will continue to generate a growing interest in electrification with the aim of replacing mechanical systems and chemical fuels. For example, advanced submersibles are replacing hydraulic systems with electric ones, while electric planes break range and speed records.
Power management will continue to be paramount in electric drones, while growing interest in directed energy weapons such as ship- and vehicle-mounted lasers will demand solutions to manage new power sources such as solid-state batteries.
There is also an increase in the demand for power electronic technologies that meet the requirements of standards such as SOSA architecture (Sensor Open System Architecture).
The post-pandemic recovery is causing a resurgence in demand for electronic systems in the military and aerospace markets. As a result, Vicor and other companies have extended delivery times for some products. This situation is expected to continue well into 2022, although Vicor mitigates it by expanding its production centers.
Another consequence of the pandemic can be observed in the field of civil aviation, where air travel has not yet recovered its pre-COVID level. We hope that it will be in 2023 when both civil aviation and the aftermarket will recover these levels.
As in other engineering sectors, we continue to see a growing shortage of qualified personnel. It is estimated that by the year 2030 up to 85 million vacant jobs will be missing due to a lack of qualified personnel, which is equivalent to 8,5 trillion dollars according to a recent report by Korn Ferry. Hiring young engineers could be paramount to preventing prolonged shortages and could be achieved in this sector through the adoption of innovative electrical technologies that demonstrate how the industry is responding to concern for the environment and commitment to renewable energy.
The burgeoning European special sector will also make greater use of electric propulsion in space vehicles, mainly in the new constellations of broadband satellites.