History of Group NIRE
Group NIRE was formed in 2010 by Texas Tech University to meet the demand for fast test site development. Group NIRE was created to do what universities cannot to help propel the industry forward. Group NIRE’s smaller size allows more mobility in the acquisition and development of projects and
testing. GNIRE has since grown to cover several areas in testing including renewable energy, energy storage, weather forecasting, and grid modernization. In 2015, Group NIRE and DNV GL were selected to evaluate energy storage systems by the DOE as a part of the ARPA-E CHARGES program. In 2016,the DOE selected GNIRE, DNV GL, and Geli as part of the ARPA-E NODES program. As a part of these programs, GNIRE has tested, evaluated, and validated numerous technologies. During its lifetime GNIRE has grown in the testing arena and continuously fills numerous gaps in market. Over time, GNIRE has seen a need for a more in-depth approach to testing. To improve testing, GNIRE has comprised a staff of electrical engineers and technicians as well as engineering interns to work toward a more solidified approach concerning energy testing. GNIRE has also built several labs and testing facilities to accommodate current projects as well as future endeavors. GNIRE is now leveraging its testing ability along with its relationship with the Texas Tech Pulse Power Lab to further immerse itself further into the testing market with Wide Bandgap Device (WBG) testing. GNIRE feels that its resources and business agility, make it a perfect fit in the test and measurement market.
WBG Semiconductor Testing at Group NIRE
Through its relationship with Dr. Stephen Bayne, of the TTU Pulsed Power and Power Electronics Lab, GNIRE has built up staff and resources that have increased its ability to do research, development, and testing in the power electronics field. Some of the projects GNIRE is currently engaged in include the design and creation of a WBG Linear Transformer Drive pulser and the research and development of a cutting edge WBG dV/dt test bed. GNIRE has also recently submitted multiple proposals and sent to the DOE and the DOD including compact high voltage WBG pulsers; WBG DC/DC converters; WBG device packaging; and WBG inverter design, comparison studies, and validation. Of these projects, GNIRE is currently using its research into dV/dt device testing to test the dV/dt capabilities of two cutting edge devices for a customer. This research and development increases the magnitude of dV/dt available for testing and will be automated and integrated into GNIRE and TTU’s newest project with PowerAmerica. The Group NIRE-TTU-PowerAmerica project is focused on establishing an independent testing facility to perform reliability analysis of WBG semiconductor devices in order to improve the confidence in long- term reliability performance of these devices. To accomplish this project, GNIRE, TTU, and PowerAmerica are recreating and improving existing TTU research testbeds and installing them for commercial use at GNIRE’s testing facility. A new safety oriented high-power lab is being created where lab technicians can work alongside electrical engineers to accomplish testing tasks.