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US launches $2.25m SiC packaging prize

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity (OE) has unveiled a new scheme to encourage American-Made Silicon Carbide (SiC) prototypes.

The USD 2.25 million contest invites competitors to propose, design, build, and test state-of-the-art SiC semiconductor packaging designs that will work more effectively in high-voltage environments such as energy storage. The project is part of the American-Made Challenges program.

The underlying aim of the prize fund is to accelerate sustainability. Silicon carbide is the raw material for semiconductors but conventional packaging designs make it prone to overheating. With better packaging, SiC power modules can be expanded to higher voltage and higher current ratings. This is of great interest to the renewable energy sector, which is looking for better ways to store power.

The SiC Semiconductor Prize is open to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits), non-federal government entities and individuals. Submissions are due by August 30, 2024.

“Silicon Carbide has become a mature and widely used technology for systems requiring power delivery, particularly charging and discharging in energy storage applications like electric vehicle charging and solar systems with batteries,” said Gene Rodrigues, Assistant Secretary for Electricity. “This new competition from the Office of Electricity incentivizes researchers to develop innovative packaging techniques to enhance the performance of this technology and increase its availability.”

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July 23 2024 1:29 am V22.5.13-2