PowerAmerica Member Transphorm Revolutionizing GaN Market

Transphorm’s Stable FQS/Bidirectional GaN Switch

Thanks to funding assistance from PowerAmerica, California-based Transphorm has developed what may be the first offerings of their kind in the market. The first is a bilateral switch which will enable 2-4x part count reduction and loss reduction, while the second is a 900V GaN HEMT, which will enable increased energy efficiency. The products are used to convert power in applications such as power supplies, solar inverters, AC-AC converters, industrial converters and electric vehicles.

Transphorm already has several GaN products on the market in the 650V range (in fact, its second generation 650V GaN FET recently became the industry’s first GaN solution to earn automotive qualification), which have helped to dispel doubts about the reliability and manufacturability of GaN. Previously, though, 900V GaN was not thought possible. While Transphorm had set a roadmap target to develop the higher node, Transphorm’s partnership with Power America enabled them to focus specifically on the higher node 900V GaN devices.

“The fact that PowerAmerica provided 50 percent of the funding for this project allowed us to focus on it as a roadmap item and develop streamlined technology – and offer first engineering samples with a datasheet – within a year,” said Transphorm Co-founder and COO, Primit Parikh. “PowerAmerica helped to get us to the next level with our product.”

Primit added: “Working with PowerAmerica, we were able to leverage our strong baseline of industry’s highest reliability-highest quality GaN to improve existing technologies and get them closer to product commercialization. PowerAmerica helped accelerate and risk reduce our roadmaps of these advanced devices.”

Transphorm also acknowledges previous ARPA-E funding for these novel technologies that helped take them from conception to feasibility demonstrations.

Transphorm has preliminary samples released to select customers, and is continuing to focus on broader product release.

Join Us for a Special Webinar: “A Manufacturing Cost and Supply Chain Analysis of SiC Power Electronics Applicable to Medium-Voltage Motor Drives”

Samantha Reese

Kelsey Horowitz

Timothy Remo

Samantha Reese, Kelsey Horowitz and Timothy Remo from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center (CEMAC) will present a special webinar, “A Manufacturing Cost and Supply Chain Analysis of SiC Power Electronics Applicable to Medium-Voltage Motor Drives” from noon to 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 12.

The talk will involve a bottom-up manufacturing cost analysis of SiC ingots, wafers, devices, modules, and variable frequency motor drives, focusing on medium-voltage industrial applications, providing insights into potential system-level cost savings with SiC as well as how innovations may contribute to expanded adoption of this technology.

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Join Us for PowerAmerica’s Monthly Technical Webinar Series Wednesday, April 5

Dr. Rolando Burgos of Virginia Tech will speak about his work to develop a mitigation and containment strategy for the conducted electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise generated by uninterruptible power supply (UPS) modules using silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors during the monthly technical webinar series from noon to 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 5. Dr. Burgos’ presentation is titled, “EMI Mitigation and Containment in SiC Modular UPS Systems.”

Dr. Burgos is an associate professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and CPES faculty at Virginia Tech. He is a member of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, where he currently serves as Chair of the Power and Control Core Technologies Committee. Previously, he was employed by ABB Corporate Research as principal scientist. Read his full biography here.

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PowerAmerica Welcomes General Motors as Newest Member

General Motors has joined PowerAmerica as the newest member of the industry-university consortium, which works to accelerate the adoption of silicon carbide and gallium nitride semiconductor technology in American industry.

“We welcome General Motors as a significant new member to our consortium, and look forward to working with them to harness the advantages of wide bandgap technology into their automotive innovations,” said Nick Justice, PowerAmerica’s executive director.

GM joins more than 30 other companies and universities who have become PowerAmerica members since the institute was founded in 2015.

PowerAmerica at APEC 2017

PowerAmerica is a sponsor of APEC 2017, March 26-30 in Tampa, Florida. Come visit us at Booth 737. Many of our members are presenting at the conference. We have put together a handy guide detailing all of our member presentations and booths, available here.

We’ll have a special conference room meeting space available for members to reserve on a first-come, first-serve basis. Just stop by our booth to register for the room. The available times are:

  • Tuesday, 3/28, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 3/29, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, 3/30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We hope to see you there!

PowerAmerica Executive Director Moderates Manufacturing USA Caucus on Capitol Hill

On Wednesday, March 1, PowerAmerica Executive Director Nick Justice moderated a session at the U.S. Capitol sponsored by the Senate Competitiveness Caucus and House Manufacturing Caucus titled, “Responding to Global Manufacturing Challenges: The Business Case forManufacturing USA Institutes.” Speakers included Sen. Chris Coons, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Tim Ryan, as well as a panel of industry and institute members – Caralynn Collins, CEO of UI Labs/DMDII (a Manufacturing USA institute); Kelvin Lee, director of the newest Manufacturing USA institute, theNational Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL); Jorg Thommes, senior vice president at Visterra; and Raj Batra, president of Siemens USA’s Digital Factory business.

The session also featured a presentation by Deloitte principal Kelly Marchese, titled “Manufacturing USA: A Third Party Evaluation of Program Design and Progress.” The firm conducted a third-party assessment of the institutes, finding them to be a “valid approach.”

The session focused on the successes to date and potential of the Manufacturing USA Institutes, of which there are now 14. The institutes are engaged with industry to advance critical technologies and grow emerging industries in the United States in order to create U.S. manufacturing jobs and stay globally competitive.

PowerAmerica was one of the first Manufacturing USA institutes to be established, and is located on the Centennial Campus of N.C. State University in Raleigh. PowerAmerica is focused on accelerating the development and large-scale adoption of wide bandgap semiconductor technology, which is more energy-efficient than power electronics widely available today. The institute has formed a network of collaboration between manufacturers and end users and funds projects that enhance performance capability, improve reliability and reduce the cost of this technology.

AgileSwitch Introduces SiC MOSFET Gate Driver Series 

PowerAmerica member AgileSwitch has introduced their 62 mm Electrical Master (62EM) SiC MOSFET gate driver series, compatible with most 62mm SiC MOSFET modules.

The 62EM series is specifically designed to facilitate the conversion of high power industrial systems that are rapidly moving from IGBTs to SiC power devices, such as heavy-duty traction vehicles, auxiliary power units in trains, buses and induction heating systems. The 62EM driver incorporates AgileSwitch’s patented, software configurable Augmented Turn-Off (ATOff™) technology.

Read the company’s full news release here. 

“PowerAmerica provided us with technical support, market opportunities, and numerous networking opportunities; as well as financial funding, that really helped launch us into this segment of wide bandgap development,” said AgileSwitch CEO Rob Weber.

Join Us for PowerAmerica’s Monthly Technical Webinar Series Wednesday, March 1

Dr. Doug Hopkins of N.C. State University will speak about his work with fellow PowerAmerica member USCi to develop the SuperCascode Power Module, a new approach to medium voltage switching, during the monthly technical webinar series from noon to 1 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, March 1.  Dr. Hopkins’ presentation is titled, “Demonstration of a Medium Voltage Power Module for High Density Conversion.

Dr. Hopkins is a professor in the NCSU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Laboratory for Packaging Research in Electronic Energy Systems, part of the FREEDM Systems Center at NCSU. He previously worked in R&D at GE and Carrier in advanced power electronics systems for military and commercial applications. Read his full biography here.

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Meeting Number: 990 708 847

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AtomPower Announces Siemens Investment

Good news for PowerAmerica member Atom Power – the Charlotte-based startup recently announced it has secured an equity investment from Siemens, a large producer of energy-efficient technologies. Read the full story about the announcement here.

Atom Power has developed what it claims to be “the world’s fastest circuit breaker,” using silicon carbide technology, effectively eliminating arc flash and short circuit malfunctions and making electricity safer.  PowerAmerica funding provided the financial means for the company to develop and demonstrate larger amperage and higher voltage products. The circuit breaker is one of the first commercially viable, solid-state circuit breakers for commercial and industrial building markets.

Report Says Manufacturing USA ‘Is a Valid Approach’

A recent report by a consulting company commissioned by the Manufacturing USA network of Institutes found the institutes to be a “valid approach,” that “attracts significant and meaningful participation from industry, academia, and local, state and federal government.” Read the full manufacturingusa.com article on the report here, and find a full link to the report here.

Examples of PowerAmerica’s work appears several times throughout the report, which was prepared by Deloitte Consulting LLP. PowerAmerica was specifically recognized for asset pooling that enables small-scale production (pg. 17):

Silicon carbide and gallium nitride are critical materials for the emerging field of power electronics. The silicon carbide and gallium nitride markets are dominated by relatively few players. There is a need for innovation from start-up entrepreneurs advancing disruptive technologies. However, dozens of smaller fabrication plants have closed their doors since 2001 because of competition. X-FAB, with funding from PowerAmerica, pools the production of semiconductors from small companies

to achieve economies of scale. IP from each company is protected, but innovation is fostered because of X-FAB’s ability to aggregate demand across customers.