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11 November 2008


GeneSiC awarded $1.5m in Department of Energy grants

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has awarded GeneSiC Semiconductor Inc of Dulles, VA, USA two separate grants totaling $1.5m for the development of high-voltage silicon carbide (SiC) devices: a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for the development of fast, ultra-high-voltage SiC bipolar devices, and a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for the development of optically gated high-power SiC switches.

The devices will serve as key enablers for wind- and solar-power integration with the USA’s electricity grid, says the firm. Silicon carbide can handle 10 times the voltage and 100 times the current that silicon can, suiting high-power applications such as wind and solar installations and electrical-grid control systems.

Specifically, the two awards are for:

  • Development of high-frequency, multi-kilovolt SiC gate-turn-off (GTO) power devices. Government and commercial applications include power-management and -conditioning systems for ships, the utility industry, and medical imaging.
  • Design and fabrication of optically gated high-voltage, high-power SiC switching devices. Using fiber-optics to switch power suits environments plagued by electro-magnetic interference (EMI), as well as applications that require ultra-high-voltages.

The SiC devices that GeneSiC is developing serve a variety of energy storage, power grid, and military applications, which are receiving attention due to the increasing focus on more efficient and cost-effective energy-management solutions.

“These awards demonstrate the DOE's confidence in GeneSiC’s capabilities, as well as its commitment to alternative energy solutions,” says the firm’s president, Dr Ranbir Singh. “An integrated, efficient power grid is critical to the nation’s energy future—and the SiC devices we’re developing are critical for overcoming the inefficiencies of conventional silicon technologies.”

See related items:

GeneSiC selected by US Navy for Phase I and II SBIR awards

GeneSiC wins SBIR and STTR grants from DoE

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