Swansea University has been awarded £4.8m UK Government funding for cutting-edge equipment to manufacture silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor devices that will create more efficient power electronics for homes, transportation and industry, and help to deliver on the nation’s net zero ambitions.
The funding has been awarded as part of Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) which is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund led by UK Research and Innovation. DER is investing a total of £28.5 million into state-of-the-art equipment across the country for a competitive electrification supply chain to be built across sectors, including industrial, transport and energy.
This investment will bring together a UK-wide network of over 30 academic, research and technology organisations based around four regional DER Industrialisation Centres, each supported by industrial clusters and bodies, in South West and Wales, Scotland, the North East, and the Midlands. The centres will coordinate and build on the UK’s national capability to deliver long-term sustainable growth to achieve net zero carbon emissions by providing open, easy access for businesses to find the expertise, facilities and manufacturing process technologies they need to scale up PEMD (Power Electronics, Machines and Drives).
The South Wales investment is a key component of Swansea University’s new Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM ) project involving multiple partners from the region’s CS Connected semiconductor manufacturing community. The investment will fund the creation of a wide band gap power electronics component industrial pilot line with equipment at Swansea and Newport Wafer Fab, which will process 6” & 8” SiC substrates that can be used to manufacture efficient power electronics for sectors such as automotive, aerospace, medical and energy.
Mike Jennings, Associate Professor at Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said:
“We welcome this funding which will contribute to further developing Swansea University’s power electronics capabilities. Power electronics is a key enabling technology and is used in all sectors from domestic appliances, transportation, through to renewable energy generation. This new pilot line will manufacture new innovations in SiC semiconductor chips for use in the next generation of power electronic systems that will be more efficient, lighter and play a crucial role in helping the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets.”
Professor Helen Griffiths, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation at Swansea University, said:
“We are very proud of the collaborative and truly innovative work of our power electronics research team led by Associate Professor Mike Jennings and their partners in the CS Connected manufacturing supply chain spearheaded by our new Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials. Successful award of the funding for the DER wide bandgap component pilot line, with critical support from Welsh Government, signals our ongoing leadership and commitment to tackling climate change, a challenge of our time. The DER award exemplifies our ethos at Swansea, founded by industry and for industry over a century ago, we embrace knowledge exchange and close collaboration with industry in our ambition to improve the world.”
Dr Andrew Withey, Compound Process Integration Manager at Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), said:
"This award further demonstrates the collective strength of the regional CS Connected community in key enabling technologies for electrification and connectivity.
This investment will allow NWF to develop next generation SiC MOSFETs, devices at the heart of the green revolution, a critical component of our scale-up ambitions.”