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24 July 2014

EPC supporting Google/IEEE ‘Little Box Challenge’ to build smaller power inverter

Efficient Power Conversion Corp (EPC) of El Segundo, CA, USA, which makes enhancement-mode gallium nitride on silicon (eGaN) power field-effect transistors (FETs) for power management applications, has announced its support for contestants in the ‘Little Box Challenge’ presented by Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ Power Electronics Society (IEEE). Little Box Challenge, with a $1m prize, is an open competition to build a (much) smaller power inverter.

The objective of Little Box Challenge is to create a smaller, cheaper power inverter for use in solar power systems. The inverter is the part of the system that converts the DC power from the solar cells into the AC power that is compatible with the established power grid infrastructure. Reducing the cost of the inverter will have a significant impact on the overall system cost of solar power.

EPC says that eGaN FET power transistors are suitable for this type of application due to their high power-handling capability, ultra-fast switching speeds, and small size:

  • High efficiency/low losses – The switching performance of eGaN FETs enables higher switching frequency compared to MOSFET solutions. Higher frequency reduces the size of energy storage elements that dominate inverter size.
  • Ultra-fast switching speed – The small size and lateral structure of eGaN FETs give extremely low capacitance and zero QRR. Also, the land grid array (LGA) package gives low inductance. These attributes enable unprecedented switching performance (2-3 times that of a MOSFET). Switching speed is the key to increasing switching frequency efficiently.
  • Small size – GaN is a wide-bandgap device with superior conductivity compared to traditional MOSFET technology, resulting in smaller devices and lower capacitance for the same on resistance (RDS(on)).

To explore the possibility of using EPC’s eGaN FETs in a high-power-density inverter for the Little Box Challenge, go to the web address below.

See related items:

Google and IEEE launch $1m Little Box Challenge to create smaller power inverter

Tags: EPC E-mode GaN FETs inverters GaN SiC

Visit: http://epc-co.com/epc/LittleBoxChallenge.aspx

Visit: www.littleboxchallenge.com

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