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DOE To Accelerate SiC Innovation With $7.9 Million

The projects will focus on developing SiC chargers for electric vehicles, power transformers for grid scale applications and MW electrical power conversion for precise control of the electricity infrastructure.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced 43 cutting-edge research projects that aim to dramatically improve how the U.S. uses and produces energy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) funded projects in 18 US states will increase America's competitiveness and create jobs.

Three of the projects are focused on Silicon Carbide (SiC) technology and the topic areas for these include:

  • Low‐Cost, Highly‐Integrated Silicon Carbide (SiC) Multichip Power Modules (MCPMs) for Plug‐In Hybrid

  • Charging modules for plug‐in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) require power electronics that are small, low cost, and efficient and reliable at high temperatures so that additional cooling becomes unnecessary. As electric vehicles become more prevalent, higher power levels will become necessary to enable rapid battery charging. This project will develop and demonstrate a transformational, highly‐efficient, ultra‐compact silicon carbide PHEV charger.

    Awarded $3,914,554, the project will be led by Arkansas Power Electronics International (APEI) in partnership with the University of Arkansas, ORNL, Toyota and Cree.


  • 15 kV SiC IGBT Power Modules for Grid Scale Power Conversion

  • The purpose of this project is to demonstrate advanced transistor based electrical substations that can help make electrical grid more flexible and controllable. These novel substations will be enabled by record high voltage (15‐20kV) transistors using SiC. These advanced transistors enable the replacement of today’s heavy (8000lb) transformers used for electricity distribution, with much smaller, suit‐case size (100lbs) electronic transformers.

    Awarded $3,736,291, the project will be led by Cree in partnership with Powerex, North Carolina State, ABB and Naval Research Lab.


  • Monolithic Silicon Carbide Anode Switched Thyristor for Medium Voltage Power Conversion

  • This project will develop novel semiconductor technology that will allow efficient processing of Megawatts of electrical power with digital precision. Specifically, high‐voltage switches in silicon carbide will be developed and will enable precise control of the electricity infrastructure.

    Awarded $2,450,000, the project will be led by GeneSic Semiconductor in partnership with Dow Corning, University of Illinois‐Chicago, Bonneville Power Administration and Sandia National Labs.


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