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PowerAmerica Funds New Wide Bandgap Projects

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Six new member projects range from module design to new university teaching labs

The PowerAmerica Institute at
North Carolina (NC) State University, a member of Manufacturing USA, has awarded funding
to six new member projects that will enhance wide bandgap technologies in the US. In addition, PowerAmerica has awarded funding for 20 projects to be
led by existing members for a total of $20 million in project funding for this
cycle.

"These projects are instrumental in
fulfilling PowerAmerica's mission of accelerating the adoption of wide bandgap
technologies into power electronics systems. To date, the institute has funded
scores of projects that have contributed to the development of more efficient
power electronics, which will benefit a range of applications - from electric
vehicles to data centers," said PowerAmerica deputy executive director and CTO
Victor Veliadis.

The new member projects receiving funding
are:

Wide bandgap power modules for next generation systems

GE Aviation Systems and National Renewable
Energy Laboratory (NREL)
will work together to design
and produce advanced wide bandgap power modules made with SiC and GaN. The goal
of this project is to enable true engine coolant temperature-grade equipment
which is required to support next generation defence systems as well as
commercial transportation, wind and solar, while reducing overall system costs.

Dual-inductor hybrid converter for direct
48V to sub-1V DC-DC module

A team at UC Boulder will design and
implement a GaN-based, novel converter
with an increased density of ten times that of
converters currently on the market, with up to three times lower power
loss.
The converter will have fewer
components, simpler implementation and lower cost. It can be used for power
delivery to data centres, cellular base stations, portable applications, and
defence systems.

Devices for solid-state circuit breaking at the medium voltage level

A team at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte (UNCC) will test a functioning
prototype of a medium voltage (3.3 kv) SiC solid-state circuit breaker. The use
of SiC in the product will enable fast turn-off capability in the microsecond
range or better, and superior efficiency compared to silicon. Market segments
to be targeted include utility operators of the electricity distribution
network.

600V GaN bi-directional switch

Infineon will develop a low-cost, 600V
bidirectional 70mOhm switch based on the company's CoolGaN HEMT technology,
capitalising on the unique bidirectional nature of the GaN HEMT. The project
will validate both the dual gate concept and a solution for substrate voltage
stabilization, and will make the GaN switch more economically attractive compared
to the standard silicon devices commonly used today.

Graduate wide bandgap semiconductor power device lab

A team at NCSU will establish a graduate
laboratory course focused entirely on the design, fabrication, and
characterisation of wide bandgap power devices, and disseminate the curriculum
to PowerAmerica members to accelerate the education of new engineers.

Power electronics teaching lab incorporating wide bandgap switches and circuits

Researchers at UNCC will develop a modular,
multi-function, educational high-frequency power electronics board with plug
and play capability. The new board will give students the flexibility to
perform different power electronics lab sessions and train undergraduate
students as wide bandgap power electronics engineers through hands-on
experience and practical knowledge of WBG semiconductors in power electronics
applications.

PowerAmerica aims to save energy and create
US manufacturing jobs by accelerating the development and large-scale adoption
of wide bandgap semiconductor technology made with SiC and GaN in power
electronics systems. The institute, located at North Carolina State University
in Raleigh, NC, is funded by the Department of Energy, industry partners and
the state of North Carolina, and has a member portfolio representing more than
45 companies in the wide bandgap semiconductor field.


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