Abstract

The world is changing rapidly with ever-increasing demands of reliable energy supply and increased electrification of devices and transportation. This is giving a compelling market pull for power electronics products to support expanding markets related to e-mobility and renewable energy. This market is expected to exceed 1000 TW-units per year in 10 years. (For comparison, the current market for computer and laptop power supplies is 2 TW-units). On the one hand, there is this market pull of substantial growth related to the energy transitions and on the other hand, there is in the technology push of the potential transition from silicon device to new wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors. The new generation of WBG semiconductor power electronic devices are potentially 100 – 1000 times faster and potentially have 100 – 1000 times lower losses than their silicon counterparts. The latest report from market research firm Yole Développement SA suggests that total market for SiC power devices by 2023 will be over $1.5 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31% for next five years, and with rising GaN adoption in a variety of applications, Yole is projecting the GaN device business to reach around $423 million by 2023 with a CAGR of 55%. Projections by PowerAmerica are that the total market for WBG devices in power electronics will be over $11 billion by 2027.There is, however, a cost related to this new technology. Existing silicon technology is well established, with proven reliability and lower costs generally per unit than the newer wide bandgap technologies. There is therefore a trade-off between the superior characteristics in many regards of the wide bandgap devices compared to their silicon equivalents, a positive market outlook (which will eventually drive down the cost of wide bandgap technology) against the status quo of silicon based devices and systems. Several regional roadmaps exist that are already exploring how this new technology will impact on their regional markets: USA (Power America), Europe (ECPE and NEREID), China (CASA) and Japan (SiC Alliance); anticipating opportunities for their industry when suitable technology readiness levels will be achieved. A key role of this roadmap, the International Technology Roadmap for Wide bandgap Power Semiconductors (ITRW ) is to facilitate an acceleration in the R&D process for this new technology to fulfil its potential. ITRW provides a pre-competitive, embracing platform for entities to: 1. Share R&D progress and identify opportunities and bottlenecks, 2. Identify most effective paths for technology development, 3. Develop technology specific content within working groups, 4. Create a reference framework for regional roadmaps. As the ITRW falls within the IEEE, it has a unique position to present a global perspective and to provide a neutral forum that is not dictated by national or regional market or regulatory demands
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationIEEE Power Electronics Magazine
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2019

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