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8 May 2015

Anvil involved in £9.5m UK project to develop SiC-based technology to modernize grid

Anvil Semiconductors Ltd of Coventry, UK is participating in a £9.5m government initiative to modernize the UK energy infrastructure to cope with the unprecedented change in energy consumption, generation and distribution. UK Government agency Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) is funding projects that drive innovative ways in how energy is supplied and used to address the energy trilemma of sustainability, security of supply and affordability.

Anvil was spun off in August 2010 from the University of Warwick's School of Engineering by its technology commercialization subsidiary Warwick Ventures Ltd in order to exploit patented developments in SiC power semiconductor technology. The firm's technology enables the growth of device-quality 3C-SiC epitaxy on 100mm silicon wafers to thicknesses that permit the fabrication of vertical power devices. The proprietary process is said to overcome mismatches in lattice parameter and thermal coefficient of expansion and can be readily migrated onto 150mm-diameter wafers (and potentially beyond) without modification and is therefore suitable for large industrial-scale applications. The material has applications ranging from power devices and LEDs to medical devices and MEMS.

Trialled on Western Power Distribution's residential network, the project will utilize Anvil's SiC-on-silicon power devices to look to increase the UK's energy network capacity to tackle residential and commercial needs. The team consists of Western Power Distribution, Anvil Semiconductors, Turbo Power Systems, Aston University, Exception EMS and Schneider Electric in the design and delivery of the project.

Due to multiple factors in consumption, generation and storage, the UK's energy network is set to become increasingly complex. By 2020 the UK is expected to have 10 million homes with solar panels and the number of electric vehicles sold will increase to 6.4 million by 2023. As a result, the existing energy infrastructure, designed for a one way flow of energy, will have to deal with unprecedented patterns in network load. The challenge of integrating distributed power generation with traditional larger-scale energy generation presents new risks in terms of voltage control and predicting load and demand, notes Anvil. Distribution network operators (DNOs) are facing significant challenges in modernizing existing infrastructure, and investing in smart technologies, to cope with this transformation.

The trial aims to deliver a dramatic increase in the capacity of the existing residential energy infrastructure, by increasing the local network voltage. This approach should allow the grid to simultaneously deliver different voltages for different requirements (i.e. charging an electric car and simultaneously providing a constant 240V for a residential building). The project will trial the installation of high-performance power electronic converters (PECs) into the meter-box of individual properties and a local sub-station converter for distributing at 400V. In order to achieve the required level of performance, efficiency, stability and sustainability at the cost demanded, these PECs will use low-cost silicon carbide switching devices built using Anvil's SiC-on –silicon technology.

See related items:

UK's Anvil and Cambridge grow cubic GaN-on-Si wafers by MOCVD

Anvil transfers its 3C-SiC on silicon wafer production to Norstel

Anvil awarded TSB grant to grow high-quality GaN on 3C-SiC on large-diameter silicon

Anvil gains £1m funding to commercialize low-cost SiC-in-silicon power devices

Warwick spins off Anvil to develop smaller, more efficient SiC-based power converters

Tags: SiC-on-Si substrates

Visit: www.anvil-semi.co.uk

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