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Associate Professor Nihal Kularatna

Associate Professor in Electronic Engineering

Qualifications: BSc Eng(Hons), DSc, C.Eng, FIENZ,FIET, FIE, SMIEEE

About Nihal

Nihal Kularatna is an electronics engineer with four and half decades of contribution to profession and research. As a graduate electronic engineer, in his early career (1976-1982) he was active in aviation ground electronics, installing and commissioning navigation and communication systems. Latter part of his early career (1982-1985), he was a diagnostic and maintenance engineer in Middle East for first generation digital telecommunications with early cellular systems. During this early career, he won several ICAO fellowships for equipment-oriented training at Federal Aviation Academy (USA), Northrop Wilcox (US), Miami international airport, CIT Alcatel-France and several other European organizations.

During his mid-career (1985-2002) at Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies, he was active in industrial research and developing continuous professional development type training programs for practicing engineers, and in 1999 he was appointed as the CEO of the organization. During the 1990s, he was an active consultant for a few US companies, including the Gartner Group and Technology Dynamics, NJ.

He moved to New Zealand in 2002, to accept a senior lecturer position at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Auckland University. In 2006 he moved to University of Waikato.

In 2011 he was elected as an affiliated member of the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA-USA). He won the NZ Engineering Innovator of the Year 2013.

Nihal was spotlighted as a Featured Engineer for US electrical engineering website EE Web. Read the interview.

He is currently active in research in non-traditional supercapacitor applications, power converters, transient propagation and power conditioning. He has contributed over 160 refereed papers to learned journals and international conferences. His work on supercapacitor assisted (SCA) techniques such as SCALDO, SCASA and SCATMA culminated numerous US, NZ and PCT patents. For an overview of his research leadership in supercapacitor applications, now internationally known as SCA techniques, feature article in June 2020 IEEE Industrial Electronics Magazine is suggested:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZnOXnAVYhcrV6CJX0Q14hCOFOl4-KD8i/view?usp=sharing.

He has authored nine reference books for practicing electronic engineers including the two consecutive volumes of IET Electrical Measurement Series and four Elsevier (USA) titles.

In 2014 he was appointed the Vice Chair of the IEEE DC Energy Efficiency Committee.

As a passionate researcher and an academic, Dr Kularatna frequently delivers invited lectures, tutorials and workshops at IEEE conferences and PSMA events on power electronic subjects. His recent webinar for the IEEE Power Electronics Society is available at https://resourcecenter.ieee-pels.org/common/search-result.html?q=kularatna

His hobbies are gardening, deck building and car grooming.

Research Interests

Dr Nihal Kularatna leads a team of academics, post-docs and PhD students active in application oriented, commercially useful research in the area of power electronics. Specific subsets are:

  • Supercapacitor assisted (SCA) techniques for power conversion and protection
  • Power conditioning techniques and customer-end power quality improvement products
  • DC Power management systems
  • Renewable energy converters and energy storage systems
  • Energy harvesting systems with supercapacitor energy storage

Nihal lavishly shares his expert knowledge with the researchers and the electronic engineering community, through his wider portfolio of nine reference books, covering the subject areas including power electronics, energy storage devices, instrumentation and measurements and practical circuit design. His latest work is titled "Design of transient protection systems - including supercapacitor based approach for surge protectors" was published by Elsevier in 2019. He has signed a new book contract with Elsevier-US on the title "Energy Storage Systems for Renewable Energy Systems", with print copy expected in 2021.

Research Supervised

PhD

  1. Savin Kokuhennadige (in progress) . Advanced techniques for surge protection, extending the SCASA technique
  2. Shanima Hanthanadevage (in progress) . Harmonic control in Linear Ac Regulator technique
  3. Sadeeshwara Udayanga (in progress). Modelling of magnetic components in SCASA technique
  4. Ariyarathna, Thilanga (in progress). SC assisted linear computer power supply (silver box).
  5. Jayananda, Dilini (Thesis submitted-2020). Supercapacitor Assisted LED (SCALED) Lighting Converter for Solar Powered DC-microgrids.
  6. Wijesooriya, Nimesha (Thesis submitted-2020). Eciency Enhancements to a Linear AC
    Voltage Regulator: Multi-transformer and Multi-winding Designs
  7. Fernando, Jayathu (2016). Supercapacitor-Assisted surge absorber (SCASA) and Supercapacitor Modelling.
  8. Gurusinghe, Nicoloy (2016). Supercapacitor assisted temperature modification apparatus (SCATMA) and fast supercapacitor charger.
  9. Wickramasinghe, Thilini (2016)Supercapacitor-based linear converter for voltage regulator modules.
  10. Leijen, Petrus J.M. (2016). NiMH battery forensics: Instrumentation, modelling and prognostics for identifying failure.
  11. Gunawardne, Kosala (2014). Analysis on SCALDO regulators.
  12. James, Sisira (2014). Investigation of surge propagation in transient voltage surge suppressors and experimental verification.
  13. ME

  14. Okeke Amalachukwu (2019). Supercapacitor Technologies for Renewable Energy Applications.
  15. Tenzin Norbu (2018). Field data Collection, Analysis & Simulation for Implementation of SCALED.
  16. Hu, Yang (in progress). SC assisted DC Microgrid applications.
  17. Vandy, Francis (2014). Design and Implementation of an AC Voltage Regulator based on Series Power Semiconductor Array.
  18. Xu Zhang (2012). Development of a power factor corrected high current supercapacitor charger for a surge resistant UPS.
  19. Kozhiparambil, Parthasradhy K. (2011). Development of a supercapacitor based surge resistant uninterruptible power supply.
  20. Saiful Riza Abidin (2011). Efficiency improvement of LDO output based linear regulator with supercapacitor energy recovery.
  21. Elliot G Finn (2008). Development of a customized, self powered data logger for monitoring farm fence energizers
  22. Jindasa, Chandani (2007). High Power linear AC electronic load for testing UPS systems.
  23. MSc

  24. Gaylard, Carl (2016). Supercapacitor assisted inverter for the purposes of ripple control

Teaching Commitments

Expertise

Doctoral Education; Electronics; Engineering; Technology

Power Electronics; Energy storage devices; Renewable energy systems; Supercapacitor applications; Electronic engineering; Surge protection; Power Converters; Analogue circuits

Recent Publications

  • Kularatna, N., & Jayananda, D. (2020). Supercapacitor-Based Long Time-Constant Circuits: A Unique Design Opportunity for New Power Electronic Circuit Topologies. IEEE Industrial Electronics Magazine, 14(2), 40-56. doi:10.1109/mie.2019.2959199

  • Jayananda, D., Kularatna, N., & Steyn-Ross, D. A. (2020). Supercapacitor-assisted LED (SCALED) technique for renewable energy systems: a very low frequency design approach with short-term DC-UPS capability eliminating battery banks. IET Renewable Power Generation, 14(9), 1559-1570. doi:10.1049/iet-rpg.2019.1307

  • Bandara, N., Gunawardane, K., & Kularatna, N. (2020). Supercapacitor based RC loop loss circumvention technique to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic inverters. In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Industrial Technology Vol. 2020-February (pp. 1151-1156). doi:10.1109/ICIT45562.2020.9067272

  • Subasinghage, K., Gunawardane, K., Kularatna, N., & Lie, T. T. (2019). Extending the Supercapacitor-Assisted Low-Dropout Regulator (SCALDO) technique to a split-rail DC-DC converter application. IEEE Access, 7, 124034-124047. doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2937754

View All research publications by Nihal Kularatna

Contact Details

Email: nihalkul@waikato.ac.nz
Room: EF.3.03
Phone: +64 7 858 5102
Cellphone: 027 579 0007
Fax: +64 7 838 4835