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INTELEC 2018 Conference

T he 40th anniversary INTELEC 2018 conference was held in the beautiful and historic city of Torino, Italy at the Lingotto Conference Centre on October 7-11th.  The theme of this conference was; 40 years of Inspiration, Research and Exploration in Power and Energy for ICT.  The conference informed upon and debated the growing issues facing society with powering Information and Communications systems.

The conference was opened with a special presentation by Dr. Alan Mantooth, president of the conferences' sponsor PELS, the Power Electronics Society of the IEEE.  Dr. Mantooth talked about the importance of Power Electronics in today's society and the role that Wide Bandgap Power Devices will play in the future expansion of power electronics into more areas including increasingly higher voltage and higher power applications. The percentage of the world's electrical energy that is converted by power electronics is increasing dramatically!

The first conference Keynote speaker was Professor Giovanni Colombo, Conference General Chair and former research Chief of Telecom Italia and European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Dr. Colombo in his presentation, "Energy and ICT, a Reciprocal Transformative Challenge", highlighted the increasing need for Engineers to act in a responsible manner to the effects of our work on the environment and our society.  In particular, he talked about the increasing amount of energy being consumed by Information and Communications Technology, the positive and negative effects of this technology on society and the very real negative effects on the environment, noting that this is a challenge that Engineers should be aware of and should work towards resolving.

In keeping with the conference theme, Dr. Norbert Grass, of Ohm University and Grass Power Electronics GmbH, presented the second keynote on the 40 year history of INTELEC, highlighting the first conference in Washington DC and noting the issues in power systems, power conversion, and energy storage for (tele)communications that were discussed in the technical papers of the first INETELEC and how little the topics have changed since, despite the great changes in technologies. He also talked about the people, such as Joe Suozzi and Nicolas Osifchin, that conceived the idea of an international conference on communications energy systems in 1975 and others such as Gunther Vau, Robert Jurewicz and Christopher Riddleberger that contributed greatly to INTELEC and also on the influence that INTELEC has had on the development of communications power and energy components and systems over the years.
The conference plenaries included an informative presentation on 5G cellular communications systems and 5G powering by Tao Hongming of Huawei, discussing the issue of the huge amount of power that will be needed to operate the dramatic proliferation of cell sites required to fully implement the upcoming 5G systems, and the issues with assuring that this power is reliable to allow 5G communications to meet it's potential, for example, reliable machine to machine communications. The plenaries also included an interesting presentation on the Challenges and Opportunities of Battery Technologies by Dr. Noshin Omar of Vrije Universitiet in Belgium, who gave a high level overview of the various technologies and their possibilities.
Workshops are also a very important part of INTELEC and 2018 did not disappoint in this area.  A workshop on Remote Line powering of Telecommunications Equipment hosted by Victor Goncalves of Alpha Technologies and an international panel of five other experts informed on the various remote line powering standards, issues, methods and applications.  It appears this technology is catching on and is a candidate for powering smaller 5G cell sites.  A workshop on the 5G network, the Powering (R)evolution was hosted by Favio Cucchietti, an independent consultant in Italy, indicated that 5G is still evolving and that there are still a lot of unknowns.  One of the limiting factors is the concerns powering 5G networks.   

The program also included four tutorials on the Sunday before the conference opened, three parallel technical sessions with about 100 oral presentations on power systems, power electronics, energy storage and renewable energy generation and poster presentations.

There was also an industry exhibition featuring 25 exhibits on communication power and energy systems equipment.  The conference, as always for INTELEC, featured a substantial social program which including a welcome reception at the conference hotel on Sunday evening, an exhibition reception on Monday evening, an afternoon social bus and walking tour of the city, and a banquet on Wednesday evening at the magnificent MAUTO National Car Museum which featured, along with all cars from the first steam driven ones to the latest Ferraris, a local youth orchestral ensemble as excellent entertainment.

Finally, on the Thursday afternoon after the conference closing session, there were two optional technical tours to choose from; a visit to TILabs, TIMs Development and Innovation Center and a visit to INRIM, Italy's national metrology institute. Both tours were well received by those that attended.

The attendees greatly enjoyed the host city, Torino. The hospitality was great and all enjoyed the local Italian food and wines very much.  Many thanks go to the Local Organizing Committee headed by Professor Michele Pastorelli and Mariapia Martino and to the sponsor IEEE PELS, The Politecnico Di Turino, the supporters and exhibitors, and all attendees for assuring the success of the conference.  

The next INTELEC conference will be in Singapore the 13th to 17th of October 2019.  One can join the mailing list for the conference and look for announcements on the conference website

Provided by Don Davidson
Intelec 2018


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