PowerAmerica Funds New Projects to Advance Wide Bandgap Technology in U.S.

The PowerAmerica Institute at N.C. State University, a member of Manufacturing USA, recently awarded funding to six new member projects that will enhance wide bandgap technologies in the United States. In addition, PowerAmerica awarded funding for 20 projects to be led by existing members for a total of $20 million in project funding for this cycle. A detailed list of all projects with descriptions is available online.

“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:


Module Development and Manufacturing

Design and Manufacturing of Advanced, Reliable and Wide Bandgap Power Modules

GE Aviation Systems + National Renewable Energy Laboratory

GE and NREL will work together to design and produce advanced wide bandgap power modules made with silicon carbide and gallium nitride. The goal of this project is to enable true engine coolant temperature-grade equipment which is required to support next generation defense systems as well as commercial transportation, wind and solar, while reducing overall system costs.


Commercialization Applications

Dual-Inductor Hybrid Converter for Direct 48V to sub-1V PoL DC-DC Module

University of Colorado, Boulder

A team at UC Boulder will design and implement a GaN-based, novel converter

with an increased density of 10 times 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 centers, cellular base stations, portable applications, and defense systems.

Introduction of Devices for Solid-State Circuit Breaking at the Medium Voltage Level

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

The team at UNCC will test a functioning prototype of a medium voltage (3.3 kv) SiC solid-state circuit breaker. The use of silicon carbide 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, capitalizing 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.


Education and Workforce Development

Graduate Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Power Device Lab

North Carolina State University

A team at NCSU will establish a graduate laboratory course focused entirely on the design, fabrication, and characterization 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

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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.