TPS & partners take Automotive Power Electronics to the next level! £1.3M received by UK Gallium Nitride consortium for GaNTT project

TPS & partners take Automotive Power Electronics to the next level! £1.3M received by UK Gallium Nitride consortium for GaNTT project

Hybrid and full Electric vehicles represent one key area where stakeholders from the automotive industry are increasingly concentrating their efforts to produce more efficient and cost-effective components, such as DC-DC converters. To support multiple stakeholders and advance the UK’s automotive sector, TPS has taken a collaborative role in the vertical GaNTT project led by the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC).

This visionary project has received £1.3m funding from the OLEV (the Office for Low Emission Vehicles) through “The road to zero emission vehicles” competition. We will be working alongside CSC and other partners from the power electronics supply chain such as Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult, Newport Wafer Fab and SPTS Technologies. The consortium will also receive academic support in the power systems arena from the University of Swansea and Coventry University.

Wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors such as Gallium Nitride (GaN) are becoming one of the prevailing technologies in delivering more cost-effective, compact, lightweight and efficient power electronics systems for automotive applications such as Electric Vehicles. These facilitate outstanding system performance levels and can lead to lower lifetime costs compared to standard silicon.

Through GaNTT (Realisation of a mass manufacturable Vertical GaN Trench FET architecture), we aim to drive the development of a new process platform to advance Automotive Power Electronics where GaN is a core element. This voltage-scalable vertical GaN process platform (200V – 600V) will be suitable for, amongst others, Electric Vehicle applications and the resulting device will be evaluated in application as part of the project.

TPS will play an important role within the consortium as we will provide a Tier 1 automotive testing environment where we will assess prototype GaN devices against standard silicon by integrating them into a bidirectional DC-DC converter for EV.

Our vision is to deliver performance improvements that are in line with the Power Electronics Roadmap published by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The roadmap sets challenging cost and efficiency targets for future power devices that couldn’t be met with conventional silicon-based technology. The 2035 targets for inverters and DC-DC converters are ambitious and will only be possible to reach using wide band gap (WBG) materials such as GaN.

Vertical GaN architectures are ideal for low to medium voltage and power applications such as On-board Charging (OBC) and DC-DC applications where higher switching speed is favoured. Our new ground-breaking GaNTT project outlines a clear route to meeting these targets through a UK-based supply chain.

This cross-cutting technology will not only be beneficial for automotive applications, but also suitable for the aerospace, defence and space sectors. The outcomes of GaNTT project will deliver the ambitious COx and NOx reduction targets set by the UK government and therefore will have a positive impact on important environmental challenges to the benefit of all UK citizens.

Dr. Nigel Jakeman, TPS Engineering & Business Development Director, commented:
“Vertical GaNTT can deliver a new generation of device that can see Gallium Nitride finally being adopted in higher power applications. We’re delighted to be part of the program and to be working with our partners, in particular to be assisting with delivery of the exciting semiconductor devices of the future.“

 

About Turbo Power Systems

Turbo Power Systems (TPS) design and manufacture world class power conversion systems using cutting edge technology. We operate out of our Gateshead based facility and supply our products and services worldwide.

 

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