GE Research Awarded $3 Million to Develop High-Voltage SiC Super Junction MOSFET

February 23, 2019 by Scott McMahan

GE Research reported that it has received a $3 Million an Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) project award to develop the first high-voltage SiC super junction (SJ) MOSFET. The SiC SJ MOSFET is expected to enable highly-efficient power conversion for next-generation medium- and high-voltage dc (MVDC & HVDC) grids as well as other applications in energy, healthcare, and aviation.

In a separate ARPA-E program, GE researchers also are working to develop a superfast DC circuit breaker, which is envisioned as another key enabling technology for MVDC grids.

The development is expected to achieve a 10X reduction in power losses compared to IGBTs. SJ MOSFETs are also expected to enable next-generation medium- and high-voltage dc (MVDC & HVDC) grids that could support a more diverse, renewable-intensive electric grid.

GE points out that its research team is drawing from 15+ years of research and application experience to create the SiC technology platform.

"As electricity needs grow and the energy landscape becomes increasingly diverse and renewables intensive, highly efficient power conversion will be required to more flexibly, reliably, and efficiently manage our energy needs," said Reza Ghandi, Senior Engineer at GE Global Research and Project Leader.

"For example, in grid technology, silicon (Si) has been the workhorse transistor material to manage electric power on the grid for decades. The next generation of power devices will be based on silicon carbide, which offers higher frequency, lower power losses and greater power density in smaller packages," said Reza.