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Bai and Zhu Recognized for Licensed Patent at UTRF Innovation Awards

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation held its annual “Innovation Awards” celebration event and recognition ceremony on Tuesday, April 5. UTRF recognized the University’s researchers and their start-ups, technologies and patents.

Hua "Kevin" Bai

Kevin Bai

UTRF recognized the teams whose technologies led to licenses recently, which included Associate Professor Kevin Bai and graduate student Liyan Zhu. They were awarded with a plaque for their 2020 patent for a “High-Efficiency Integrated On-Board Charger and Auxiliary Power Module for EV.” This patent was just licensed to research sponsor Hella Engineering Center in Michigan.

The patent covers a novel control strategy which allows the flow of electricity among the AC power grid, high-voltage batteries and low-voltage batteries, freely and in multiple directions.

This technology is used in electric vehicles that have both an on-board charger and an auxiliary power module. It can allow an EV to achieve vehicle-to-grid function, where the vehicle provides power from its on-board battery back to the power grid. This can help support the grid in instances of blackouts. If an EV has a depleted high-voltage battery, the technology can also enable a lower-voltage battery in that EV to deliver at least some power to the higher-voltage battery in order to drive the vehicle.

During the celebration event, UTRF also recognized more than one hundred individuals who shared forty-four recently issued patents. Professor and Condra Chair of Excellence in Power Electronics Fei (Fred) Wang topped the list of honorees by being named on six of the forty-four. Associate Professor Daniel Costinett earned first runner-up with four patents each.