BelGaN takes the first steps to build GaN-Valley in Belgium
The US might have Silicon Valley, but in Europe GaN-Valley is taking shape, more specifically in Belgium. BelGaN Group has just completed the acquisition of all shares of ON Semiconductor Belgium BV from the onsemi group.
BelGaN is looking to transform into a European powerhouse as a foundry for GaN-focused automotive semiconductor. BelGaN says it will form the foundation for a GaN-Valley, a growing ecosystem for GaN-based chips and power electronics with applications in Electrical Vehicle, Mobile, Industrial, Data Center and renewable energy markets in Europe. This is well aligned with the European ambition for greater chip autonomy.
The vision is to become a leading 6 inch and 8 inch GaN Foundry in Belgium, developing GaN technologies and manufacturing GaN products, a press release reads.
“After starting my career in Bell Labs with a Doctoral Fellowship 30 years ago, I have witnessed the success and growth of Silicon Valley by commercializing Bell Labs inventions,” says Dr. Alan Zhou, CEO of BelGaN, in the press release. “I envision an opportunity of a lifetime to build the “GaN Valley” in Belgium by leveraging imec’s next generation GaN power device innovations with BelGaN team’s more than 10 years of GaN technologies development and more than 30 years of automotive semiconductor manufacturing experiences.”
Within a few years, the site in Oudenaarde will be transformed from a silicon site to a GaN site. This will – according to the company – provide give an innovation-driven growth boost to the region and provide short- and long-term employment opportunities in Oudenaarde with multiple career opportunities in R&D, operations and various service departments.
“GaN is a new generation of semiconductor material for power devices that enables more energy-efficient and faster charging, higher power density and greater energy savings for mobile, industrial, electrical vehicle and renewable energy markets. The global market for GaN power chips is currently estimated at around $100 million per year and is expected to accelerate to more than $1 billion per year within the next 5 years,” says Dr. Marnix Tack, CTO and VP Business Development at BelGaN, in the press release.
Rob Willems, General Manager and VP Operations of BelGaN, says that the 400+ current employees will remain on board.
“In addition, BelGaN is planning to expand and hire a variety of extra profiles from operators to engineers. GaN power chips will be a game changer in the electric automotive and many other sectors and an important step towards a more sustainable future,” Rob Willems concludes.