European Power Electronics Companies Team Up for $11 Million “GaNext” ProjectJuly 01, 2020 by Shannon Cuthrell
The new GaNext Penta project convenes 13 industry and academic organizations to collaborate on building high-efficiency GaN power systems.
A public-private consortium of companies and universities from Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. are teaming up to deliver working prototypes of Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors for renewable energy and automotive charging applications.
The €10.3 million (roughly $11.5 Million) project is supported by the PENTA Programme, an international initiative that provides funding to electronic components and systems (ECS) companies in partnership with national governments.
Cambridge University spinout startup Cambridge GaN Devices leads the consortium, along with 13 European companies and organizations. The group’s target markets span across disciplines, giving the GaNext project a wide range of industry expertise to draw from. The consortium includes Infineon Technologies, SUMIDA Components & Modules, Signify (formerly Phillips Lighting), advICo microelectronics, Besi Netherlands, Cambridge GaN Devices, CSA Catapult, the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, Fraunhofer IMS, Lyra Electronics, MACCON Elektroniksysteme, Neways Technologies, and TU Dortmund.
In certain uses, GaN material is a more compact and efficient alternative to traditional silicon semiconductors used in power electronics applications. According to the GaNext project website, the goal of the program is to deliver “an intelligent GaN power module where the controller, drivers, and protection circuits are co-packaged with the power devices.”
A prospectus document about GaNext says that the scope of the deliverable involves a 650V GaN-on-Si power IC with integrated sensing and driving elements, Si and GaN low-voltage logic, control, and level-shift silicon-on-insulator gate drive circuitry, and a dedicated package for the power module.
The product will target EV charging, lighting, motor drive, and PV inverter applications—all key segments influencing the growth of the GaN power device market. According to Allied Market Research, the GaN power device sector is expected to grow from $110.3 million in 2019 to $1.24 billion by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 35.4%.
Cambridge GaN Devices Founder and CEO Giorgia Longobardi stated in a news release that the GaNext project will boost awareness of GaN technology while also producing marketable applications for the industry.
“Not only will the project advance the knowledge in GaN technology and provide insights into its complex facets, but will aim at delivering fully-working prototypes in lighting, motor drives, converter blocks for renewable energies and on-board chargers for automotive with record specifications and outstanding performance,” Longobardi stated.