PowerAmerica Request for Information (RFI) Now Open For Public Input

PowerAmerica is seeking public input on initiatives to accelerate the large-scale adoption of silicon carbide and gallium nitride technology in power electronic systems in a wide range of industries.

Responses are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28.

The information collected will assist PowerAmerica in developing a specific request for project proposals from industry for possible funding.

View the RFI and submit comments here.

Wolfspeed Develops All-SiC Power Modules for High Voltage Applications with Assistance from PowerAmerica

The Wolfspeed SiC Power Module with built-in diode.

With funding assistance from PowerAmerica, SiC device and power module company Wolfspeed has developed first-of-its-kind silicon carbide power modules for 3.3 kV and 10 kV applications. According to the company, this is the first SiC power module at these voltage levels to use exclusively the MOSFET built-in body diode as the anti-parallel rectifier.

A built-in diode has numerous advantages over an external and additional diode device. The built-in diode or “body diode” design maximizes the performance of SiC MOSFET modules by freeing up space in the power module, allowing for more power capability and therefore increased performance in a smaller space. It also makes assembling a power module easier, boosting long-term reliability and optimizing costs.

“Essentially, we’re doubling the power and therefore increasing supply chain capability by providing another solution at higher power levels – specifically at the 3.3 kV and 10 kV applications,” said Ty McNutt, director of business development at Wolfspeed’s Fayetteville, AR location.

PowerAmerica funding helped the company manufacture and test the modules. During testing, Wolfspeed was able to demonstrate the power improvement gained by not having the additional diodes.

Currently, these Wolfspeed power modules are being offered to PowerAmerica members and select customers.

Students Learn About Wide Bandgap At Summer Workshop


PowerAmerica researcher Dr. Mehmet Ozturk of N.C. State held a Semiconductor Device Manufacturing workshop June 13-15 at N.C. State University, where participants were introduced to different manufacturing processes for deposition, etching and patterning of a variety of thin films; and went through a basic process flow for GaN Power Transistor Fabrication.

Andrew Galamb, an electrical engineering major at N.C. State, echoed the general sentiment of workshop participants when discussing why he wanted to learn more about wide bandgap: “It seems like there’s a lot of cutting edge research going on, and that’s where I want to go with my career,” Galamb said.

Join Us for PowerAmerica’s Monthly Technical Webinar Series Wednesday, June 7

Dr. Ayayi Ahyi of Auburn University will speak about his work to develop a gate dielectric process that will be an improvement on the current nitridation process and made freely available to PowerAmerica members during PowerAmerica’s monthly technical webinar series from noon to 1 p.m. EDTWednesday, June 7. Dr. Ahyi’s presentation is titled, “Development of an Open Gate Dielectric Process for SiC MOSFET Manufacturing.”  

Dr. Ahyi is an Associate Research Faculty in the Auburn University Physics Department. His current work is focused on wide bandgap MOSFET interfaces, especially SiC MOSFET. Since he joined the department in 2007, Dr. Ahyi has been co-recipient of two patents, one on SiC impurity doping and the second on SiC MOS interface improvement. Read his full biography. 

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John Deere Successfully Demos SiC-Based Inverter in Heavy Duty Construction Vehicle

Through PowerAmerica, John Deere has formed a collaboration with researchers from the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a 200 kW 1050 VDC silicon carbide-based inverter. The inverter will convert vehicle engine power into electrical power needed for hybrid motors in heavy duty construction vehicles.

In April, the Fargo, North Dakota-based John Deere Electronic Solutions successfully demonstrated the SiC inverter in a John Deere 644K hybrid front loader vehicle, using the engine radiator fluid to cool the SiC power electronics. The SiC inverter technology demonstration took place at John Deere Dubuque Works in Dubuque, Iowa. PowerAmerica funding has helped accelerate the development of this technology.

While not of the actual demo, this video of the JD 644K Hybrid loader with a silicon IGBT inverter shows how and why electrification is enhancing fuel economy in heavy duty vehicles and making them easier to operate. A SiC inverter allows more efficient electric drive train compared to the IGBT inverter technology.

NSF Seeking Proposals for Research with Manufacturing USA Institutes, Including PowerAmerica

Do you have an idea for a project involving wide bandgap semiconductors?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is interested in receiving research proposals addressing critical fundamental research needs in advanced manufacturing, and particularly in projects that may enable innovations in the technical focus areas of one or more of the Manufacturing USA Institutes, including PowerAmerica.

Such proposals should leverage the facilities, infrastructure, expertise and member companies of one or more Institutes.

More details can be found on the NSF website.

Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster Joins PowerAmerica

PowerAmerica is proud to welcome the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC) as an Associate Member.

RTCC is an initiative of business, government, academic, and nonprofit leaders focused on accelerating the growth of the Research Triangle Region’s cleantech economy. Its dozens of members are leaders in the region’s energy industry.

“PowerAmerica is happy to join forces with RTCC and its many member companies in the Triangle region working toward building a clean energy economy. Our mutual focus on improved energy efficiency makes this partnership a natural fit,” said Nick Justice, Executive Director of PowerAmerica.

Join Us for PowerAmerica’s Monthly Technical Webinar Series Wednesday, May 3

Dr. Kevin Bai of Kettering University will speak about his work to develop high-efficiency and high-power-density electric vehicle chargers using GaN and SiC during PowerAmerica’s monthly technical webinar series fromnoon to 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 3. Bai’s presentation is titled, Comparison of SiC and GaN 7.2 kW Chargers.

Dr. Bai received B.S. and PhD degrees from the Department of Electrical Engineering of Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China in 2002 and 2007, respectively. He is an affiliated associate professor at Kettering University and associate professor in CECS, University of Michigan-Dearborn. His research interests include power electronics with motor drive system, EV battery chargers, auxiliary power modules, battery management systems and wide bandgap devices. He is the author Transients of Modern Power Electronics, 38 peer-reviewed IEEE journal papers and 34 conference papers. He holds seven industrial patents and is associate editor of SAE International Journal of Alternative Powertrains.

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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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Meeting Number: 992 296 143

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Audio Connection: 919-513-9329 (WolfMeeting)

Access Code: 992 296 143