President Obama has launched a public-private initiative to develop wide bandgap ICs for power electronics based on compounds like silicon carbide and gallium nitride.
Six universities and 18 companies are to engage in the project which is led by the University of North Carolina.
“I don’t want the next big job-creating discovery and research and technology to be in Germany or China or Japan. I want it to be right here in the United States of America. I want it to be right here in North Carolina,” said Obama on a visit to university.
“What wide band-gap allows engineers to do is produce devices at higher voltages, at higher temperatures and higher frequencies,” added Obama, “and in the long run, that uses a lot less energy – making things like cell phones to industrial motors to electric cars smaller, faster and cheaper.”
The consortium will receive $70 million from the US Department of Energy over the which will be matched through a combination of funds from the consortium along with at least $10 million coming from the state of North Carolina.
Ernest Moniz, US Secretary of State for Energy, says: “WBG semiconductors operate at high temperatures, frequencies and voltages — all helping to eliminate up to 90 percent of the power losses in electricity conversion compared to current technology.”
The consortium’s aim, said Moniz, is to “make WBG semiconductor-based power electronics cost competitive with silicon chips in the next five years.”
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