SiC Wolfspeed and ZF partner to optimize Silicon Carbide semiconductor technology
As part of their strategic partnership announced earlier this year, ZF and Wolfspeed Inc. have announced their plans to establish a joint European R&D center for Silicon Carbide power electronics in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region in Germany.
The new joint research facility is supported by the German federal government and the regional government of Bavaria. Like the planned Wolfspeed Silicon Carbide chip factory in Ensdorf, Saarland, funding for the new center is subject to approval by the European Commission under the EU’s Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) scheme. The prior approval of the relevant authorities, especially of the antitrust authorities is also required. The aim is to develop the two facilities to become the cornerstone of a new European Silicon Carbide technology network. Construction will begin after IPCEI funding approval has been secured for both projects, which is expected later this year. The goal of the collaboration is to develop breakthrough innovations for Silicon Carbide systems, products, and applications, covering the full value chain from module to complete systems and thus reducing time-to-market significantly. The joint research center will target requirements in all mobility segments including consumer, commercial, agricultural, and industrial vehicles, as well as in the industrial and renewable energy markets. The collaboration aims to drive improvements such as higher efficiency, increased power density and higher performance of electrification solutions. Wolfspeed’s silicon carbide expertise and ZF’s access to all mobility segments allows for a fast and seamless transition of new technologies.
ZF and Wolfspeed are partnering with other leading organizations from the scientific and industrial communities to establish a comprehensive European Silicon Carbide technology network. To this end, ZF will use its membership in the European Center of Power Electronics (ECPE) and share key research results at the European level. Over time the research center is planned to develop into an electronics and semiconductor campus.
"The research center is of outstanding importance for the energy and mobility transition in the EU and supports the strategic goals of Europe," says Dr Holger Klein, CEO of ZF. "In addition, optimizing Silicon Carbide technology advances industrial transformation and strengthens the independence of European supply chains."
"This research facility further strengthens our partnership with ZF and underlines our long-term commitment to turn our unique know-how from more than 35 years of experience in Silicon Carbide power electronics into state-of-the-art solutions for our industry partners," comments Gregg Lowe, CEO of Wolfspeed Inc.
The strategic partnership links ZF, one of the world's leading suppliers of electric drives, with Wolfspeed, the world's most recognized specialist in silicon carbide technology. "This connection is unique and will lead to enormous advances in silicon carbide-based electrical systems and electric drives," says ZF Board of Management member Stephan von Schuckmann. "This is made possible by the close networking of the research center and production, because fundamentally redesigned silicon carbide chips also require new production processes.”
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