Researchers at the Fraunhofer-Institut fuer Integrierte Systeme und Bauelementetechnologie (IISB) are working on interruptible switches they say are capable of creating more reliable converters for power transmitted over long distances as direct current.
The team is looking into high-power, high-frequency switches as a means of overcoming a common weakness of converter facilities used to turn direct current back into alternating current for addition to the mains power grid.
At present, if a few of the individual components in a converter fail, a chain reaction can destroy the rest and render the infrastructure useless.
By using interruptible, high-power, high-frequency switches, the scientists claim to have been able to overcome this problem.
The need for more robust electronic components arises due to the remote location of offshore wind energy or desert-based solar power installations.
As direct current is less susceptible to attenuation, it is typically used to transmit the electricity produced by these facilities until it is ready for addition to the mains grid.