Magnetrons will eventually be replaced by solid-state RF power amplifier modules and controllers within the following applications: industrial heating and drying, plasma generation, chemical processing, commercial cooking (restaurants, fast re-heat and thawing) and, last but not least, consumer microwave ovens.
What is Solid-State RF Energy?
Klaus Werner | RF Energy Alliance
Please provide a brief summary of solid-state RF Energy.
Solid-state RF Energy uses transistor technology to generate powerful RF fields, in contrast to legacy technology based on magnetrons, which are tube-based. Solid-state RF-driven applications benefit from very agile control of the created electromagnetic fields (frequency, phase, power level, on/off can be changed within a microsecond scale). The controller can react to any change or requirement instantly and can always guarantee optimal use of the irradiated RF energy and/or an optimal process result.
What is the RF Energy Alliance’s role in advancing solid-state RF energy?
The organization strives to monitor relevant existing and emerging markets, educate companies along the value chain and standardize relevant technologies. The RF Energy Alliance works to enable and facilitate the development of this clean, highly efficient and controllable heat and power source.
What industries, and appropriate applications, will solid-state RF Energy affect?
RFEA targets industries and applications using magnetrons to power their respective processes. Magnetrons will eventually be replaced by solid-state RF power amplifier modules and controllers within the following applications: industrial heating and drying, plasma generation, chemical processing, commercial cooking (restaurants, fast re-heat and thawing) and, last but not least, consumer microwave ovens.
Solid-state technology will enable currently unavailable applications, and greatly improve existing applications, including: plasma lighting, automotive ignition, plasma jets with applications varying from metal cutting over surface activation, to dental sterilization and skin beautification. Examples for medical application of RF Energy are hyperthermia treatment and RF ablation.
What are the safety concerns of the use of RF Energy and how are they being addressed?
There are no additional safety concerns with RF Energy that do not already exist with current applications using RF radiation. Standards and regulations apply, and are well-known in the industry. Proper shielding in consumer and industrial RF Energy applications should not present any additional problems.
How will the RF Energy Alliance’s mission affect current power and heating standards and eventual performance?
Generally speaking, the solid-state RF energy heating will be subject to the same power and heating standards as current applications using magnetrons. IEC60705 provides a measuring prescription on how to characterize household microwave furnaces. Larger installations basically use the same idea to measure efficiency, albeit without a real standard. To the best of our knowledge, there is no such thing as an “Energy Star-” type standard or for microwave-based heating equipment.
The Alliance does intend to adapt characterization prescriptions for household microwave furnaces to correctly assess the performance improvements this technology offers.
How are you building awareness of the solid-state RF Energy’s potential and when do you expect it to be implemented into mainstream industry?
The Alliance is building awareness via the “usual” means of public relations, market communications and social networking. The organization also relies heavily on the network of our members to further our mission and visions. The Alliance also makes heavy use of RF-related channels (fairs, conferences, journals, websites…). Furthermore,
The first heating breakthrough applications will be launched in 2016 in commercial cooking and industrial heating applications. We hope to see a consumer application in 2016.
About Klaus Werner, Executive Director, RF Energy Alliance
Dr. Klaus Werner is the owner of kw tec b.v., a company active in the fields of metrology, automation and consultancy. Currently, he focuses on RF Energy market development as the RF Energy Alliance executive director. Dr. Werner was previously with NXP Semiconductors as the solid state RF Energy markets business development manager. He studied physics at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany, and holds a Ph.D. in Semiconductor Device Technology from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. Dr. Werner started his professional career as a process engineer at Philips Semiconductors. Prior to his assignment in the RF power device business, he worked in several engineering and operational management functions.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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