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3 July 2019

GaN and SiC power semiconductor market to grow from $400m to $3bn by 2025

The gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor market will grow from over $400m to more than $3bn by 2025, according to the latest report by Global Market Insights Inc.

Power semiconductor devices are seeing rapid adoption for various power applications, fueling growth in the GaN and SiC power semiconductor market. As conventional silicon-based devices are approaching their material limits, silicon carbide and gallium nitride are becoming more popular and are being adopted across various industry verticals due to their higher dielectric field strength than silicon, notes the firm. Moreover, wider bandgap and thermal energy allows the material to withstand higher temperatures and voltages, making it a suitable substitute for silicon. The market has emerged significantly as the devices find applications in areas such as photovoltaic (PV) inverters, hybrid & electric vehicles (HEV), uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and other power applications.

Various power industries are affected by energy loss, particularly during power conversion, so efficiency is a crucial factor to ensuring better performance. Limitations in achieving the required efficiency often lead to high costs. As a result, industry is focusing on adopting materials with more power-suitable characteristics, offering significant growth opportunities in the GaN and SiC power semiconductor market. These wide-band gap (WBG) devices have made it possible to make compact packaged electronic devices that have high power density. As the power semiconductor industry is aiming to develop devices with lower weight and low cost, this is creating opportunities for the GaN and SiC power semiconductor market.

Gallium nitride power devices have high growth potential for use in several power semiconductor applications, as the material can be used to enhance the electronic performance and power capacity. GaN offers several benefits over conventional silicon in transistors due to features such as high power density, system miniaturization and increased efficiency. While the power semiconductor industry has used mainly silicon for many years, companies are increasingly focusing on improving GaN device reliability for high-power systems. The exponential growth of GaN is expected to drive GaN and SiC power semiconductor market growth.

Semiconductor industry developments are one of the key factors influencing the market. By region, the USA comprises almost half of global semiconductor sales, at over $200bn in 2018, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Moreover, the US semiconductor industry spends one-fifth of its revenue on R&D activities, making it an important region for the market.

The GaN and SiC power semiconductor market is expected to gain traction in renewable energy applications. PV inverters are expected to adopt these devices to enable more efficient power conversion. Silicon carbide embedded PV inverters yield much lower switching losses and increase system efficiency. The use of SiC devices for PV inverters improves the power density by minimizing heat dissipation and can also reduce the size of passive components. The PV inverter applications for solar energy is expected to drive the GaN and SiC power semiconductor market in countries such as India and China. Efforts by several governments to increase the use of renewable energy are opening up new market opportunities for power devices, says the report. Countries like India are aggressively focusing on increasing their solar energy production capacity, targeting 175GW in 2022 according to India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Moreover, the country saw the addition of 5.5GW energy based on wind capacity in year 2016-17. This is expected to provide high market potential.

The rise in the application of insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules has become a prominent market driver, as they are being widely used in applications such as railway traction and propulsion, notes the report. Metros, electric & diesel-electric locomotives, tramways and high-speed trains are increasingly adopting IGBT modules. The capabilities of SiC to provide higher efficiency and lower losses are enabling its use in these modules. Automation companies such as ABB provide IGBT modules for railway applications.

The comparatively high device cost can be a restraining factor for the GaN and SiC power semiconductor market to some extent, comments the report. The conventional silicon materials for fabricating power devices have been used in the semiconductor industry for many years, and the market is not ready for an immediate switch to materials such as GaN, it adds. However, the benefits of the materials and their capabilities are expected to fuel market growth.

With many companies becoming inclined toward building more compact and highly efficient power semiconductor devices, Mitsubishi Electric Corp, Infineon Technologies AG, ROHM Semiconductor and NXP Semiconductors are some of the leading players in the GaN and SiC power semiconductor market. With companies focusing on R&D activities, the industry is seeing rapid technical advances. For example, Infineon spent 11% of its revenue on R&D in 2018. The firm is also expanding its production capacity for power semiconductors, including in May 2018 entering high-volume production of its silicon carbide MOSFETs.

Tags: GaN SiC Power electronics

Visit: www.gminsights.com

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