From GaN to Energy Storage: APEC is Back for 2021

June 14, 2021 by Tyler Charboneau

Kicking off today until June 17th is the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC). What presenters and innovative topics are on this year's agenda?

Pushing forward following last year's cancellation, the 2021 Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) aims to deliver exciting new content in a myriad of virtual formats.

This year's event (June 14th-17th) kicks off today, welcoming viewers with a passion for electronics engineering. Electronics OEMs, designers, manufacturers, multidisciplinary engineers, marketers, and others can expect to gain plenty of value from this annual presentation. If you're interested in a more power engineer-focused article, check out our sister site EE Power's article

Since its inception, APEC has grown to become the leading conference for power electronics professionals worldwide. This year, distinguished professionals and leaders in their respective areas of expertise will lead presentations. Speakers are eager to share their knowledge and highlight where the power electronics field is heading. 

Rebounding from the pandemic has ushered in changes from previous years.


Example of 2020's APEC schedule.

Example of 2020's APEC schedule before cancellation. Image used courtesy of APEC


APEC 2019 preceded the emergence of COVID, drawing a sizeable crowd to Anaheim, CA. Last year's conference was indeed a learning experience––one that had organizers scramble to publish content, session recordings, and seminars. Unfortunately, the committee had to issue refunds to exhibitors since adapting proved too challenging on short notice. However, by applying those lessons learned last year, this year, APEC organizers can present a much more robust event for all participants. 


Understanding Pricing and the Virtual Platform

APEC 2021 requires attendees to register, which unlocks access to the event's online portal. Log in using your credentials to begin enjoying diverse power-electronics content. Exhibit-only registrations are free, as are those for press members and industry analysts. The former bundles access to Plenary Sessions, RAP Sessions, and the Expo Hall. 

Plenary Sessions address topics of immediate or ongoing impact in the power electronics realm. These presentations are intended to address trends and promising (or critical) electronics developments that drive industry-wide change.

This year's Plenary Sessions are broken down into six main topics, ranging from automotive and wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors to the future of power passives and energy storage. Each of these is a topic that has been recently flooding the industry, especially with the rising possibilities of GaN, which looks to be a highlight in a few presentations.

As for RAP Sessions, these center around topics that inspire debate or more profound skepticism. These topics range from conversations about the micro-grid to the reliability of power converters to magnetics.

Finally, the Expo Hall highlights products, research, and Q&As from various booth owners throughout the conference. Viewers can also interact one-on-one with presenters. 

To gain access to these presentations and other materials, a complete registration costs $395 (IEEE Student Members and Life Members), $650 (IEEE and PSMA Members), or $750 for non-members. 


Table showing APEC's registration and fees. Screenshot used courtesy of APEC


Full participation includes all free benefits, plus Technical Sessions, Industry Sessions, professional education seminars, and special events. These don't only offer a deeper dive into complex topics (like WBG semiconductors in automotive applications, power solutions for data centers, energy harvesting, etc.); they also allow professionals to network throughout the conference.

Overall, APEC 2021 looks to offer a mix of live and pre-recorded content that viewers may access at any time. 

Want to view a detailed event lineup? Check out APEC's comprehensive schedule here.  


Navigating the Platform

APEC is leveraging its Social27 virtual platform to host this year's event. Though organizers have offered an official mobile app in the past, they believe their web portal will provide ideal access this time around. 

This year is focused on personalization, which begins immediately upon logging in.

Users are prompted to select their top seven areas of interest, from which the platform will provide content recommendations.


Examples of some areas of interest that are offered.

Examples of some areas of interest that are offered. Screenshot used courtesy of APEC [video]


These are primarily for Technical Sessions, Industry Sessions, and Exhibitor Seminars. The virtual platform provides a home dashboard, and navigating the sidebar will take you to separate dashboards for each type of presentation available. It's relatively easy to view schedules and detailed information on either live or on-demand events. 

APEC 2021 also hopes to preserve as many social aspects as possible from previous conferences––while offering unique outlets.

For example, the participant leaderboard keeps the score of engagement and overall networking activity. Attendees can win prizes, attend roundtable discussions, or even partake in boozy virtual happy hours. It's easy to interact with other conference-goers via the attendee directory and greater Networking Lounge.


APEC's Happy Hour times and types of chat.

APEC's Happy Hour times and types of chat. Screenshot used courtesy of APEC [video]


You can also customize a public profile to help others connect with you. 

Want to learn more? For a more nuanced overview of the online platform, view APEC's video here


Notable Partners and Presenters

While APEC draws enthusiasts both big and small, larger partners drive much of the event's growth. APEC has partners such as Power Integrations, Texas Instruments, Infineon, STI, and Mentech in 2021. Funding aside, these organizations are sending their speakers to break down industry topics.


Who's Presenting? 

This year's conference welcomes multiple notable presenters from the largest companies industry-wide.

  • Edoardo Merli, Power Transistor Macro Division General Manager and Group Vice President, assess wide-bandgap technologies' current and future states.
  • Stephanie Watts Butler and Peter Friedrichs—of Texas Instruments and Infineon will break down semiconductor standardization in light of R&D efforts. 

Additionally, several speakers from laboratories and academic institutions are chipping in to immerse viewers.

APEC has made an effort to be all-inclusive this year, hopefully, to make up for last year's cancellation. Topics will apply to wide swaths of professionals adjacent to power electronics. With events running through 12:30 am, you're sure to find something regardless of your schedule. It will be interesting to keep up and see what new and innovative discussions come out of this year's conference.