The Research of Onboard Charger for Electric Vehicles Won the Merdeka Award Grant for International AttachmentDecember 13, 2021 | Campus News
With a research proposal of designing the next-generation onboard charger for electric vehicles using state-of-the-art wide-bandgap technology, Ir. Dr. Freddy Tan Kheng Suan, a senior engineering lecturer by profession, was among five young Malaysians who received the prestigious 2021 Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment.
At the Announcement and Presentation Ceremony hosted by Merdeka Award Trust (MAT) in Kuala Lumpur on November 26, 2021, all grantees were presented with certificates by the Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan and Royal Patron and Chairman of the Merdeka Award Trust, Sultan Nazrin Shah.
Dr. Tan, a PhD in Power Electronics holder, applied for this grant based on the said research proposal. Delightfully, he had been shortlisted and gained an opportunity to pitch his ideas to the Board of Trustees of the Merdeka Award Trust (MAT), set up by PETRONAS, Shell Malaysia and ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc, and eventually stood out among many applicants.
Being recognised as amongst the best of Malaysian minds and talents, Dr. Tan will further build his expertise by undergoing a learning experience in an institution of international repute through 3 months of attachment.
He will soon attach to ETH Zurich, a public research university in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, which is placed 2nd best university in Europe and ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology education.
Referring to his research proposal of designing the onboard charger for electric vehicles using wide-bandgap technology, Dr. Tan said, “I will discuss and collaborate the potential work with the professors at ETH Zurich. Thereafter, I will have it built it here in Malaysia, particular in APU. I will apply for relevant government and industrial grants to develop the prototype.
He further elaborated, “Electric vehicles are gaining in popularity and predicted to dominate the automobile market by 2040 or earlier. As this is an emerging study area, it lacks local experts for research and development. Securing this grant allows me to learn from an overseas expert and to foster potential collaboration.”
“With relevant knowledge and technical skills, I can foster a closer link between this research area and the engineering fundamentals, for helping to develop better understanding and appreciation among students. I can also collaborate with other relevant local industrial partners for the final year project (FYP) and postgraduate projects of our students,” he continued.
Dr. Tan, a registered professional engineer by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and a Member of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (MIEM), has been lecturing at the School of Engineering, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU). He is also one of the Microsoft Innovative Educators, who improves students’ learning experience by using technology.
The “wide-bandgap” technology he leverages for the onboard charger for electric vehicles research refers to higher-energy electronic band gaps. The difference in energy levels creates the semiconductor action as electrons switch between the two levels. As such, it permits devices to operate at much higher voltages, frequencies and temperatures than conventional semiconductor materials.
The Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment is designed for Malaysians between 22-35 years old to engage in collaborative projects at an international host institute of selected disciplines, including education, arts, sports, community or social works, and the environment, health, science and technology.
This grant is an extension of the Merdeka Award which honours outstanding works and achievements that have made a lasting impact on the country and its people. The recipients will be provided with the necessary skills and expertise, expanding their capabilities to deliver exceptional advancements for the nation and society.
In his speech during the presentation ceremony, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Petronas and a Board Member of the Merdeka Award Trust, Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik, said, “The Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment was introduced to nurture promising young Malaysians and support them in their journey of excellence. We have selected our Grant recipients this year with the full confidence that they will make the most of this opportunity to engage with the world’s renowned foremost experts in their respective fields, gain valuable insights for their research and bring their learnings back to Malaysia to further galvanise their respective industries and talent pools.”