AES Semigas


21 March 2024

Silicon carbide power device market to grow to $5.33bn in 2026

Benefitting from robust demand from downstream applications, market research firm TrendForce forecasts that the silicon carbide (SiC) power device market will grow to $5.33bn by 2026, with mainstream applications still highly reliant on electric vehicles and renewable energy sources.

Recently, the SiC market has seen new developments involving companies such as Mitsubishi Electric, Mersen, and Ascen Power.

Mitsubishi Electric beginning construction of SiC fab in April

In March 2023, Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric announced plans to invest about JPY100bn (CNY4.856bn) over five years to construct an 8-inch SiC fab and enhance related production facilities. According to the latest reports from Nikkei, construction of the fab in Kumamoto Prefecture, will begin in April, with operations scheduled to start in April 2026.

Spanning six floors with a total area of about 42,000m2, the new fab will primarily handle front-end processes for 8-inch SiC wafers, incorporating an automated transport system across all processes to create a highly efficient production line. The firm plans to gradually increase SiC production capacity by five times by fiscal-year 2026 (compared with fiscal 2022).

In May 2023, Mitsubishi Electric signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for US-based Coherent to supply 8-inch n-type 4H-SiC wafers for the new factory. Both parties are committed to expanding the production scale of 8-inch SiC devices.

Ascen Power accelerates phase one capacity ramp-up of SiC chip manufacturing project

Ascen Power’s SiC chip manufacturing project is a major project under Guangdong’s ‘Strengthening Chip Technology Project’, with a total investment of CNY7.5bn, covering an area of 150 acres.

The first phase involves an investment of CNY3.5bn to build a production line that is currently ramping up capacity to produce 240,000 6-inch automotive-grade SiC chips annually by the end of 2024, according to the fab’s plant manager Shao Yonghua. The second phase focuses on establishing an adjacent, reserved production line capable of producing 240,000 8-inch automotive-grade SiC chips annually. Products include insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), SiC Schottky barrier diodes (SBD)/junction barrier Schottky (JBS) and SiC metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs), targeting applications including electric vehicles, photovoltaics, and smart grids.

In November 2022, the project’s cleanroom officially began operation, achieving a monthly production capacity of 10,000 pieces. Its automotive-grade and industrial-grade chips have been mass-produced and sampled, and these are about to complete automotive verification. To date, Ascen Power has signed agreements with more than 40 customers and achieved tape-out, covering most SiC chip design companies nationwide.

Mersen to rev up SiC wafer production

On 12 March, European graphite materials and SiC wafer supplier Mersen announced that it has received investment from the French government to expand the capacity of its SiC wafer project. The subsidy may exceed €12m (about CNY94m), sourced from the ‘France 2023 Plan’ — a significant joint interest project in microelectronics and communication technology in Europe.

Mersen says that it intends to use the funds to advance the research and industrial production of p-SiC low-resistivity polycrystalline SiC wafers.

Mersen expects to invest €85m (about CNY670m) between 2023 and 2025 (employing 80–100 staff), promoting capacity construction at the Gennevilliers plant in France, and achieving a potential manufacturing capacity of 400,000 150mm-diameter wafers by 2027.

Additionally, Mersen will supply SiC wafers to engineered substrate maker Soitec of Bernin, France. In November 2021, the two concerns entered into a strategic partnership to jointly develop polycrystalline SiC wafers with extremely low resistivity for SiC power electronic components based on Soitec’s SmartSiC technology, leveraging their respective expertise in substrates and materials.

See related items:

Mersen gains €12m in European funding to develop polycrystalline SiC substrate manufacturing

Coherent and Mitsubishi Electric collaborating to scale manufacturing of silicon carbide power electronics

Mitsubishi Electric to build new 8-inch SiC fab to boost power semi production

SiC power device market to grow 41.4% to $2.28bn in 2023

Tags: SiC Power electronics



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