Associate Professor Nihal Kularatna

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:

He has authored ten 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

His hobbies are gardening, deck building and car grooming.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised


  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 (2021). Permeance based Modelling, Design
    and Optimization of Supercapacitor assisted Surge Absorber (SCASA)
  4. Ariyarathna, Thilanga (2021). Design of SCALDO Based High-current
    DC Power Supply
  5. Jayananda, Dilini (2020). Supercapacitor Assisted LED (SCALED) Lighting Converter for Solar Powered DC-microgrids.
  6. Wijesooriya, Nimesha (2020). Efficiency 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. Don  Charles  Sirimanne (In progress- 2021).  Supercapacitor Assisted Bicycle
  15. Pranav  Nandkishor Udas (2020). Investigations on the surge withstand capability of SCALED system
  16. Okeke Amalachukwu (2019). Supercapacitor Technologies for Renewable Energy Applications.
  17. Tenzin Norbu (2018). Field data Collection, Analysis & Simulation for Implementation of SCALED.
  18. Hu, Yang (2017). Supercapacitor assisted power converter for DC Micro Grid applications with self-contained DC-UPS capability.
  19. Vandy, Francis (2014). Design and Implementation of an AC Voltage Regulator based on Series Power Semiconductor Array.
  20. Xu Zhang (2012). Development of a power factor corrected high current supercapacitor charger for a surge resistant UPS.
  21. Kozhiparambil, Parthasradhy K. (2011). Development of a supercapacitor based surge resistant uninterruptible power supply.
  22. Saiful Riza Abidin (2011). Efficiency improvement of LDO output based linear regulator with supercapacitor energy recovery.
  23. Elliot G Finn (2008). Development of a customized, self powered data logger for monitoring farm fence energizers
  24. Jinadasa, Chandani (2007). High Power linear AC electronic load for testing UPS systems.
  25. MSc

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

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.

Recent Publications

  • Silva Thotabaddadurage, S. U., Kularatna, N., & Steyn-Ross, D. A. (2022). Permeance based design and analysis of supercapacitor assisted surge absorber for magnetic component selection. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. doi:10.1109/TIE.2022.3172769

  • Gunawardane, K., Padmawansa, N., Kularatna, N., Subasinghage, K., & Lie, T. T. (2022). Current Context and Research Trends in Linear DC–DC Converters. Applied Sciences (Switzerland), 12(9). doi:10.3390/app12094594

  • Piyumal, P. L. A. K., Ranaweera, A. L. A. K., Kalingamudali, S. R. D., & Kularatna, N. (2022). Maximum power point tracking of an off-grid photovoltaic system consisting of a series connected supercapacitor with a step-down converter. In ECS Transactions Vol. 107 (pp. 16233-16250). doi:10.1149/10701.16233ecst

  • Ariyarathna, T., Kularatna, N., Gunawardane, K., Jayananda, D., & Steyn-Ross, D. A. (2021). Development of Supercapacitor Technology and Its Potential Impact on New Power Converter Techniques for Renewable Energy. IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Industrial Electronics, 2(3), 267-276. doi:10.1109/jestie.2021.3061962

Find more research publications by Nihal Kularatna


Doctoral Education; Electronics; Engineering; Technology

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

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: EF.3.03
Phone: +64 7 858 5102
Cellphone: 027 579 0007
Fax: +64 7 838 4835