Wide Bandgap Semiconductors for Power Electronics – EEs Talk Tech Electrical Engineering Podcast #20

Wide bandgap semiconductors are the future, but they come with a Catch-22 for power engineers!
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Links & agenda ↓↓↓

Fact Sheet: https://energy.gov/eere/articles/infographic-wide-bandgap-semiconductors

Fact Sheet

Click to access wide_bandgap_semiconductors_factsheet.pdf

Tech Assessment (Good timeline information)

Click to access QTR%20Ch8%20-%20Wide%20Bandgap%20TA%20Feb-13-2015.pdf

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Wide bandgap semiconductors agenda:
At APEC – the applied power and electronics conference – Daniel kept getting questions about very high speed, very high voltage systems.

1:25 Kenny is not a booger

3:00 What are wide bandgap semiconductors? Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices and Silicon Carbide (SiC) can turn on and off much faster than traditional silicon power devices. Wide bandgap semiconductors have better thermal conductivity. And, wide bandgap semiconductors have a much lower drain-source resistance (R-on).
For switching power supplies, the transistor switching time is a big source of inefficiency. So, switching faster is more efficient.

4:00 Wide bandgap semiconductors can drastically reduce the size of power electronics.

6:30 They have a very fast rise time, which causes EMI and RFI problems. Also, the high switching speed means they can’t handle much inductance. So, existing IC packaging technology isn’t ideal.

8:30 Wide bandgap semiconductors are the gateway to the smart grid. The smart grid essentially means that we’re only turning on things we use, and cutting off power completely when they aren’t in use.

9:35 Wide bandgap semiconductors will likely be integrated into server farms before they are used in distribution or at home.

10:20 How much energy does Google use? 2.3 TWh (terawatt hour)
NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/technology/google-details-and-defends-its-use-of-electricity.html

The estimate is that Google has 900,000 servers, and that only accounts for roughly 1% of the world’s servers.
So, they are willing to pay to work things out.

11:50 The US Department of Energy wants us to get a degree in power electronics. Countries want to have wide bandgap semiconductor technology leadership.

13:00 It’s also very important for windfarms and other alternative forms of energy.
A more robust power supply means that you don’t have to have extra capacity.
US DoE: If industrial motor systems were wide bandgap semiconductors took over, we could save enough energy for roughly 300 million homes

14:45 A huge portion of the world’s power is consumed by pumps. Pumps are everywhere.

16:20 Kenny’s son works for a company that goes around and helps companies recover energy costs.
There aren’t a lot of good tools for measuring wide bandgap semiconductor power electronics.

18:45 This will likely show up $.04 per kWh

19:30 Utilities and servers are the two main areas of focus for adoption of wide band gap semiconductors

20:35 When will these get implemented in the real world? There are parts available today, but it probably won’t be majorly viable for 2-5 years.

21:00 Fast switching is a Catch-22. The faster it switches, the more EMI and RFI you have to deal with.
The fast edge causes the problem, many fast edges build up and cause EMI compliance failures.
Spread spectrum clocking is useful to help pass EMI compliance.

24:00 What is the widest bandgap and why? Diamond 5.5 eV Gallium Nitride (GaN) 3.4 eV Silicon Carbide (SiC) 3.3 eV

#electronics #electricalengineering #powerelectronics #power #bandgap #widebandgap #widebandgapsemiconductors #widebandgapsemiconductor #semiconductors #smartgrid #powerefficiencey #powerengineering

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