Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a semiconductor bandgap material made of silicon and carbon. SiC wafers provide a step function better performance than current Silicon (Si) based power devices.
Silicon Carbide (SiC) is part of a semiconductor materials hierarchy that serves the power demands of varying range by reducing consumption and improving power efficiency. With the higher conduction, toughness, and resistance to higher temperatures, Silicon Carbide can be recognized as the new future with great potential for development. SiC materials are extensively utilized in disciplines varying from computers, household appliances, photovoltaic industry, electric vehicles, inverters, national power grid, etc.
Silicon Carbide has a higher bandgap, thermal conductivity, and electric field strength; Silicon Carbide finds greater adaptability in power semiconductor devices. Being resistant to a higher voltage and transmits heat away from the system, Silicon Carbide can boost photovoltaic devices’ efficiency.
Like solar, renewable energy equipment is not installed in regulated atmospheric conditions and is subjected continuously to ambiguous and harsh climate situations. So, devices installed in these environments should be resistant to all weather circumstances and deliver energy generation sustainably regardless of the climatic conditions. The innate mechanical strength of Silicon Carbide ensures devices stay resilient in various environmental conditions, makes them more trustworthy for the energy sector. In contrast to silicon, Silicon carbide devices can be highly resistant to higher voltage manifolds and handle more current and transmit heat away from the energy system, thereby allowing energy systems to operate at higher efficiency.
Recent revelations by Cree company on Silicon Carbide states that “SiC MOSFETs provide high energy efficiency to offer the next generation of bi-directional on-board vehicle charging and energy storage solutions for the new smart grids. You can see half the conduction losses, 75% lower switching losses, and 70% greater power density than silicon alternatives. Those benefits are a natural fit for EVs and data centers, as well as telecom power, UPS, solar inverters, and others.”
In 2019, 2.1 million electric vehicles were sold. Even though there is a slight dip in 2020 due to pandemic, but the indications are clear with Tesla’s Market has increased by more than $500 billion in 2020, and now it is valued at more than $800 Billion. This clearly shows the trend of electric vehicles and increasing demand for Silicon Carbide based devices.
To improve efficiency, SiC-based devices fabricated offers faster-switching ability, achieve higher voltages and power demands to improve efficiency at a lesser cost. This way, batteries’ efficiency can be improved, which provides a larger market for electric vehicles. The SiC wafers-based batteries will enable the ability to charge electric vehicles rapidly. Moreover, SiC allows Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers to build more efficient vehicles to meet lower CO2 emissions.
If you consider data centers or large industrial applications which run 24/7, energy efficiency is one of the biggest concerns. It is estimated that the power supply efficiency of servers 65-80%. Lowering the energy consumed by servers can save a lot of cooling costs and provides a possibility to safeguard or enhance system reliability. Compared to Silicon-based power electronic systems, Silicon Carbide based units proved to be very efficient, as they have higher resilience to higher voltages, transmit heat away from the system, minimal leakage currents, thermal conductivity, and higher switching frequency. These factors can improve systems’ efficiency while drawing a trade-off between operational costs, energy efficiency, reliability, and high-density computing.