The PowerGaN Consortium

The PowerGaN Consortium was formed in March 2013 following the award of the 5 year, £6.2M EPSRC Programme Grant, "Silicon Compatible GaN Power Electronics"

The Consortium comprises 7 UK teams from the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield. Currently, 26 researchers are working on the project.

By working together, the Consortium which comprises domain experts spanning materials growth, transistor design, production and testing in practical testbeds are prototyping highly efficient, gallium nitride transistors with the potential to revolutionise power electronics due to the performance gains possible from the intrinsic properties of GaN compared to silicon.

Critically, routes to manufacture in silicon wafer fabrication facilities are being developed.

Impact

A key deliverable of the Consortium is to support the UK industrial power electronics sector

Using existing power conditioning approaches is predicted to increase global energy consumption by 35% in the next 20 years.

Improved efficiencies from GaN power electronics has the potential to reduce energy consumption by 25%

  • 60% reduction in transportation (motors in electric vehicles, trains etc)
  • 50% reduction in consumer electronics (permanent magnet motors etc)
  • 75% reduction in lighting (in combination with GaN LEDs)
  • 20% in IT infrastructure (power distribution in server farms etc)

These energy savings will only happen with widespread adoption of GaN power electronics technology. Economies of scale, dictate the only viable manufacturing solution to be silicon based.