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Navitas sets its sights on data centers


New Hangzhou design centre aims to bring GaN power ICs and associated high-power-density systems to data centres

GaN company Navitas Semiconductor has announced its expansion into higher-power markets with the opening of a new design centre dedicated to bringing next-generation GaN power ICs and associated high-efficiency, high-power-density systems to data centres.

The new design centre, based in Hangzhou, China, hosts a team of power system designers with capabilities across electrical, thermal and mechanical design, software development, and complete simulation and prototyping capabilities. Navitas says that data centre power customers will be supported worldwide by the new team, from concept to prototype, through to full qualification and mass production.

The design centre will develop schematics, layouts, and firmware for data centre power supplies. Additionally, there will be multiple partnerships created for magnetics, thermal substrates, and other materials to assist customers to optimise their power supply designs.

Navitas estimates that an upgrade from legacy silicon to new GaN could deliver energy savings up to 40 percent, and save $1.9B/year in data centre electricity costs worldwide. Data centre supplies are rated to meet tough efficiency criteria, with the extreme 'Titanium' grade demanding 96 percent efficiency at 50 percent load. These new benchmarks are not only enabled by GaN technology but also demanded by legislation such as the European Union's 'Directive 2009/125/EC, 2019 Annex' which states that data new centre power supplies must meet 'Titanium' level of efficiency from January 1st, 2023.

"The Navitas Data centre team has the new technical skills of GaN power ICs plus the experience of real power supply design and qualification," said Charles Zha, VP and GM of Navitas China. "The first proof point is a 1.2kW 'Titanium plus' design that not only exceeds the highest efficiency standards for data centre power supplies, but is also value-engineered to be lower cost than legacy silicon designs. After this, it's on to 2.2kW and 3kW platforms."

The 1.2kW design was developed in collaboration with Boco and FRD of Hangzhou, and the power supply is now under evaluation for mass production in 2022. Golden Yin, Boco's CEO said "GaNFast power ICs are easy-to-use, digital-in, power-out building blocks that have accelerated time-to-prototype and first-time-right designs." Ray Gu, GM of Power Supply BU at FRD stated "GaNFast power ICs are essential to achieving Titanium Plus efficiency, a critical milestone for next-generation datacentre power supplies. This will help FRD strengthen its product portfolio and provide comprehensive solutions to enterprise customers".

"As data and communications continue their exponential growth, it is critical for data centres to upgrade to GaNFast power ICs to reduce costs, maximize energy savings and reduce CO2 emissions," said Gene Sheridan, co-founder and CEO. "As a critical expansion market, we recruited ahead of our recent IPO funding, and that faith in our data centre design team is already paying dividends. By working in collaboration with data centre engineers around the world, we can accelerate adoption of GaN-based data centres and make a significant impact on energy savings, electricity costs and CO2 emissions."

Manufacturing a GaN power IC has up to a ten times lower CO2 footprint than for a silicon chip, and considering use-case efficiency, material size and weight benefits, then each GaN power IC shipped can save 4 kg of CO2. Overall, GaN is expected to address a 2.6 Gton/yr reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

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