24 March 2020
CSA Catapult in Newport to coordinate Materials and Components aspects of UK’s DER Industrialisation Centres
The UK’s not-for-profit Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult, based in South Wales, says that Newport has been chosen as part of a national network of centers (spanning Newport, Nottingham, Glasgow and Sunderland) to enable faster design, development and industrialization of power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD) across seven sectors – including automotive, aerospace and energy.
Backed by £30m of UK Government funding, the ‘Driving the Electric Revolution’ (DER) Industrialisation Centres and their 35 partners will be a base for state-of-the-art equipment and will bring together the UK’s innovators and manufacturers in electrification R&D. The network aims to help to propel the UK’s advanced technologies and manufacturing capabilities to the fore on a national scale and to take the UK one step closer to its Net Zero ambitions.
Established by UK Government agency Innovate UK (which provides funding and support for business innovation as part of UK Research and Innovation), CSA Catapult is a not-for-profit organization (headquartered in South Wales) focused on accelerating the adoption of compound semiconductors and on bringing applications to life in four technology areas: power electronics, RF & microwave, advanced packaging and photonics. It works across the UK in a range of industry sectors from automotive to medical, and from digital communications to aerospace.
The new DER Industrialisation Centre based at CSA Catapult’s Innovation Centre in Newport will coordinate the national Materials and Components and the South Wales and South West (SW2) aspects of the DER Industrialisation Centres. Partners currently include the Universities of Bath, Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham and Exeter, CSA Catapult, the Compound Semiconductor Centre and a range of industrial organizations and partnerships.
“DER Centre SW2 will focus on the Materials and Component aspects of the national DER Industrialisation Centre capability and harness it to help grow the UK supply chain in the relevant technologies,” says CSA Catapult’s CEO Stephen Doran.
Because compound semiconductor technology, specifically silicon carbide (SiC), can cope with more power than silicon, it produces less heat in electronics than the silicon equivalent. SiC technology hence needs less cooling and, therefore, as cooling systems can be large, heavy and costly, this helps to reduce size, weight and expense.
One application where this will be beneficial is with electric vehicles (EVs) because reducing size and weight leads to a longer time without needing to re-charge, reducing ‘range anxiety’. Also, reducing expense could boost the use and hence production of electric vehicles, paving the way to the UK Government’s route to Net Zero carbon emissions.
“The announcement of the DER Industrialisation Centres’ program is exciting news for PEMD in the UK. The centres will bring together UK-wide PEMD capability with industry requirements to accelerate supply chain development,” says Garry Wilson, Industrialisation Centre – SW2. “The Materials and Components and SW2 aspects of the national DER Industrialisation Centres’ program include world-class capabilities in compound semiconductors and magnetic materials,” he adds. “SW2 as a region is a global leader in a range of the critical PEMD technologies which are applicable across all seven of the DER Challenge sectors that will underpin the growth in the UK PEMD supply chain.”