PowerAmerica Issues Request for Proposals for Projects to Advance the Wide Bandgap Power Electronics Ecosystem

PowerAmerica is now soliciting proposals for a new round of Member-Initiated Projects (MIP). The MIP program is intended to provide a way for PowerAmerica members to collectively identify priority projects needed to advance wide bandgap commercialization and direct resources to address those challenges. A university or company does not need to be a current PowerAmerica member to apply for MIP funding, but membership is required upon receipt of funding.

MIP projects are funded by member dues and selected by a committee of members. This year, PowerAmerica anticipates selecting three to four proposals, with up to $200,000 available per funded project. Although not required, a cost match in addition to PowerAmerica funding is encouraged and will be taken into account when scoring proposals.

PowerAmerica is seeking proposals in the following topic areas, which were identified by members and included in the updated technology roadmap:

  • Improve device packaging to take better advantage of SiC and/or GaN device performance including packaging for 200A+ and better package footprints.
  • Improve SiC and/or GaN module packaging and reliability, including the study of failure mechanisms, robustness and qualification requirements for aerospace, vehicle electrification and other applications.
  • Improve SiC and/or GaN device design and techniques including monolithic integrated gate driver designs.
  • Additional project topics not specified, but meet the needs identified in the technology roadmap.

Proposals are due July 24, 2019. For additional information and to apply, visit this link.

Abstract Deadline May 31 for ICAE 2019

The 5th International Conference on Advanced Electromaterials (ICAE 2019) will take place Nov. 5-8, 2019, in Jeju, Korea. Symposium 8, “Materials and Devices for Power Electronics” will cover a wide range of Si, SiC, GaN, Ga2O3, and diamond material and device topics as well as advanced power electronics adopting these new power devices. PowerAmerica Deputy Executive Director and CTO Victor Veliadis will be giving a plenary presentation together with a number of other distinguished speakers. The abstract deadline has been extended to May 31. More detailed information can be found here.

U.S. Senators, Including Thom Tillis (R-NC), Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Promote Expansion of Manufacturing USA

PowerAmerica is a member of Manufacturing USA, a network of 14 public-private partnership institutes with 1,300-member companies and institutions working to keep the U.S. on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing. A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill to increase U.S. advanced manufacturing’s global competitiveness by supporting the Manufacturing USA network. Read more about theGlobal Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing Act.

Atom Power Introduces First Ever Digital Circuit Breaker

PowerAmerica member Atom Power announced its technology is now listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the governing standard for consumer safety. This is the first time in the history of commercial power distribution that a digital solid-state circuit breaker has been listed by UL. With support from PowerAmerica, Atom Power – a Charlotte, NC-based startup – scaled up its manufacturing processes for its high-speed, safer circuit breaker, in the the process increasing the current and voltage capacity. Atom Power’s innovation has captured industry attention, receiving investments from three of the four largest circuit breaker manufacturers — Siemens, ABB and Eaton. Congratulations to Atom Power on this major accomplishment!

Revised Bylaws Provide More Value for PowerAmerica Membership

PowerAmerica’s members recently voted to revise the organization’s Bylaws to improve the value proposition for members and to make PowerAmerica more attractive to prospective members.  The three primary revisions are:

  • Enhancement of intellectual property rights to make members eligible to share the rights to intellectual property developed by SiC and GaN projects funded with member dues.  Presently, there are four such projects under way, with more projects expected to start this year.
  • Expansion of membership criteria to make all participants in the SiC and GaN ecosystem eligible for membership.
  • Revision of the PowerAmerica dues structure to make membership more affordable, especially for smaller companies and universities.

Details of membership membership benefits and dues can be found at the PowerAmerica website.

PowerAmerica Updates Wide Bandgap Technology Roadmap

PowerAmerica recently unveiled an updated technology roadmap. Roadmapping is a dynamic, ongoing process that guides PowerAmerica’s strategic decisions and provides a common vision of the future for the WBG community to work toward.

The document is really two roadmaps: one for SiC and one for GaN technology. The public version of the roadmap includes a new market forecast for WBG power electronics and analysis of SiC and GaN device cost based on market information. Additionally, a more detailed version of the roadmap, available to members only, outlines key markets and application areas for SiC and GaN power electronics, the performance targets GaN and SiC technologies are expected to meet over time, technical barriers to achieving those targets, and activities needed to overcome those barriers. For questions about joining PowerAmerica and gaining access to the full roadmap, contact Membership Director Jim LeMunyon.

Join Us for WiPDA 2019, Oct. 29-31 in Raleigh, NC

What: PowerAmerica’s Victor Veliadis is leading a team of experts in organizing the 7th Annual Workshop on Wide Bandgap Power Devices and Applications (WiPDA). WiPDA is a forum for device scientists, circuit designers, and application engineers to share technology updates and research findings on silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride (GaN), and emerging semiconductor power devices and electronics.

When: October 29-31, 2019 (AM/PM tutorial sessions on Oct. 29; keynote speeches and panel sessions; as well as oral/poster presentations by subject matter experts on Oct. 30-31).

Where: Marriott Stateview hotel, North Carolina State University Campus, Raleigh, NC


Seeking Technical and Tutorial Abstract Submissions

We are currently soliciting two page technical abstracts on topics of interest. All presented papers will be included in the conference proceedings and submitted to the databases of IEEExplore.

To find topics of interest and upload your abstract, visit the WiPDA website or click here.

Technical abstract submission deadline is June 14, 2019.

We are also soliciting up to 200 word tutorial abstracts on topics of interest found here.

Tutorial abstract submission deadline is June 7, 2019.

Email your abstract for a one-hour tutorial to:

Dr. Suman Debnath | debnaths@ornl.gov

Dr. Rostan Rodrigues | rodriguesrostan@ieee.org


PowerAmerica Member UnitedSiC Announces Strategic Investment by Analog Devices; New Power Device Offerings

PowerAmerica member UnitedSiC has announced a strategic investment and long-term supply agreement with Analog Devices, Inc. “From our first meeting with the ADI Power team, they instantly understood the value of our SiC technology and the ease with which the devices could be scaled and utilized in their power platforms,” said Chris Dries, President and CEO at UnitedSiC.  UnitedSiC and ADI have been collaborating on SiC-based products and devices for more than two years.

As wide bandgap power devices, and SiC in particular, become more mainstream and cost effective, the inclusion of these devices should further strengthen ADI’s analog power portfolio.

Steve Pietkiewicz, Senior VP of Power Products at ADI said, “For the last few years, we have been actively following the development and progress of silicon carbide technology and devices. We found UnitedSiC’s FET technology to be ideally suited for ADI’s high performance power platforms and our pursuit of additional high voltage applications.”

Additionally, UnitedSiC announced it has released a range of SiC JFET die suitable for co-packaging with a controller IC with built in low voltage MOSFET to fabricate an extremely fast, cascode-based, 20-100W flyback charger products.  These JFETs are ideal for applications such as consumer electronics adapters, auxiliary power supplies and high-power, long LED lightning chains. “With the addition of these new SiC JFETs, UnitedSiC now has one of the largest SiC power portfolios in the industry,” says UnitedSiC CEO Chris Dries. “We now have high-performance JFET functionality in both die and discrete package form.”

UnitedSiC is a founding member of the PowerAmerica organization, and continues to work together at accelerating the global adoption of wide bandgap technology products.

PowerAmerica Student Profile: Andrew Galamb

PowerAmerica works with an array of students from its 17 member universities, who assist with research on various institute-funded projects. This month, we are profiling Andrew Galamb, a student at N.C. State University pursuing his PhD in Electrical Engineering with a focus on wide bandgap devices. Andrew works under Dr. Srdjan Lukic, a researcher who with support from PowerAmerica has developed a medium voltage fast charger with SiC technology for electric vehicles. Read our interview with Andrew here.

Hi Andrew! Tell us about your work with wide bandgap to date.

I have worked with Dr. Lukic and others on the EcoPRT (Economical Personal Rapid Transit) project. This is a joint project between the Mechanical and Electrical departments of N.C. State with a goal of creating an autonomous, two person electric vehicle that would transport people between campuses. The Mechanical Department has developed the body and drivetrain, and my team and I have been working on the wireless charging to allow for the vehicle to operate well without human intervention. The wireless charging system will use both silicon carbide and gallium nitride devices in the topology, and we are currently prototyping the printed circuit board.

How did you get interested in wide bandgap technology?

My interest in wide bandgap power electronics started when I learned about the work going on at the FREEDM Systems Center (another institute at N.C. State) to create a new smart grid that could incorporate more renewable energy. I have always been interested in reducing people’s impact on their environment, and the work happening at the FREEDM Center will make a big difference in the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid. I learned about the potential of wide bandgap devices and their improved efficiency and power density, and I was enthralled.

How have you benefitted from being involved with PowerAmerica?

PowerAmerica has supplied me with substantial opportunity for technical and professional improvement. The EcoPRT project has allowed me to explore power electronics and wide bandgap devices on a level that I would never have been able to with my regular undergraduate education. The real world experience gained on this project helped me secure my internship with Danfoss, and got me interested in doing my PhD. I have also had the chance to present a 90 second pitch about my research at the PowerAmerica annual meeting twice now, and that has been valuable public speaking experience.

What would you tell a fellow student interested in a career in wide bandgap?

If you are interested in wide bandgap devices, I would strongly recommend taking a short course on the subject. I had the chance to take one, and it gave me a starting point to enter the world of wide bandgap semiconductors.

New Member Group NIRE Offers WBG Testing Services

History of Group NIRE
Group NIRE was formed in 2010 by Texas Tech University to meet the demand for fast test site development. Group NIRE was created to do what universities cannot to help propel the industry forward. Group NIRE’s smaller size allows more mobility in the acquisition and development of projects and
testing. GNIRE has since grown to cover several areas in testing including renewable energy, energy storage, weather forecasting, and grid modernization. In 2015, Group NIRE and DNV GL were selected to evaluate energy storage systems by the DOE as a part of the ARPA-E CHARGES program. In 2016,the DOE selected GNIRE, DNV GL, and Geli as part of the ARPA-E NODES program. As a part of these programs, GNIRE has tested, evaluated, and validated numerous technologies. During its lifetime GNIRE has grown in the testing arena and continuously fills numerous gaps in market. Over time, GNIRE has seen a need for a more in-depth approach to testing. To improve testing, GNIRE has comprised a staff of electrical engineers and technicians as well as engineering interns to work toward a more solidified approach concerning energy testing. GNIRE has also built several labs and testing facilities to accommodate current projects as well as future endeavors. GNIRE is now leveraging its  testing ability along with its relationship with the Texas Tech Pulse Power Lab to further immerse itself further into the testing market with Wide Bandgap Device (WBG) testing. GNIRE feels that its resources and business agility, make it a perfect fit in the test and measurement market.

WBG Semiconductor Testing at Group NIRE
Through its relationship with Dr. Stephen Bayne, of the TTU Pulsed Power and Power Electronics Lab, GNIRE has built up staff and resources that have increased its ability to do research, development, and testing in the power electronics field. Some of the projects GNIRE is currently engaged in include the design and creation of a WBG Linear Transformer Drive pulser and the research and development of a cutting edge WBG dV/dt test bed. GNIRE has also recently submitted multiple proposals and sent to the DOE and the DOD including compact high voltage WBG pulsers; WBG DC/DC converters; WBG device packaging; and WBG inverter design, comparison studies, and validation. Of these projects, GNIRE is currently using its research into dV/dt device testing to test the dV/dt capabilities of two cutting edge devices for a customer. This research and development increases the magnitude of dV/dt available for testing and will be automated and integrated into GNIRE and TTU’s newest project with PowerAmerica. The Group NIRE-TTU-PowerAmerica project is focused on establishing an independent testing facility to perform reliability analysis of WBG semiconductor devices in order to improve the confidence in long- term reliability performance of these devices. To accomplish this project, GNIRE, TTU, and PowerAmerica are recreating and improving existing TTU research testbeds and installing them for commercial use at GNIRE’s testing facility. A new safety oriented high-power lab is being created where lab technicians can work alongside electrical engineers to accomplish testing tasks.