After attending high school in Puerto Rico, Nomar S. González-Santini never thought his background could have prepared him for higher education. However, working with an electrician on the weekends to support his family sparked an interest that led him to the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez to pursue engineering.
González-Santini is currently a doctorate student in electrical engineering and a GEM fellow at Michigan State University, where he focuses on power electronics.
The National GEM Consortium Program provides minority students opportunities to experience STEM-related research in national laboratory settings. As a fellow in the program, González-Santini spent his summer researching wireless power transfer for electric vehicle battery charging at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The GEM program at ORNL is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy.
With guidance from his mentor, Dr. Burak Ozpineci, González-Santini developed an equation for optimizing a dc-link capacitor. This component of the charging system filters signals between input and output sections.
“I built a mathematical model of a specific wireless charger topology and validated the equation based on simulations. With this equation, we are able to obtain the optimum dc-link capacitance for any wireless charger system topology,” González-Santini explained.
No such study of this component has been conducted before González-Santini’s time at ORNL.
“In general, my research will provide a more complete design guideline of a wireless power transfer system for electric vehicle battery charging,” he said.
Ideally, his findings will give scientists more options when designing systems for electric vehicles while potentially reducing cost, size and weight.
“Improvements in the area of wireless charger systems for electric vehicles, such as this one, provide an aid to the mass development of electric vehicles,” González-Santini explained. “This translates to a potential reduction in carbon emissions to the environment.”
After completing his doctorate degree, González-Santini hopes to continue researching solutions for today’s energy challenges and sharing his knowledge with others.
The GEM program proved beneficial for González-Santini’s education as well as his future. In fact, he has chosen to focus his dissertation on this research.
“In this program, you will be able to expand your professional network, gain real research experience, possibly define your thesis topic and connect with a future collaboration,” he said.
As González-Santini nears the end of his doctorate program, he recognizes the value of research opportunities.
He explained, “Interning at ORNL has been the greatest thing I have been able to do this year.”