21 December 2021
GaN Systems and partners tackle Net Zero Challenge
GaN Systems Inc of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (a fabless developer of gallium nitride-based power switching semiconductors for power conversion and control applications) says that its growing ecosystem of partners is collaborating to address the Net Zero Challenge to neutralize emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases by accelerating the global sustainability and cleantech revolution.
Efficient power generation, distribution and conversion are key factors in driving sustainability and reducing emissions. Since GaN is inherently more efficient than silicon and silicon carbide (SiC), any power conversion equipment maker designing with GaN contributes to a greener planet, says GaN Systems. The highest paybacks come from implementing GaN at the biggest sources and uses of power. Factory and industrial motors are one of the biggest users of electricity. With GaN in their motor drives, Siemens is, “now able to increase the efficiency of the drives,” says Christian Neugebauer, Siemens’ product manager for Micro-Drives. “With GaN, Siemens can switch to a higher frequency, thereby enabling a faster motor response time compared with high-voltage drive systems.” And, as we all use more data in our video-watching, picture-sharing, online gaming and music-streaming, GaN is implemented in more and more power supplies in the data centers, reducing power losses by 50% and increasing power densities, GaN Systems adds.
In power generation, Enphase Energy recognizes the importance of GaN for inverter design with higher efficiency and a 50% increase in power density. In addition to ensuring that the source power is clean, Enphase is also reducing consumption of scarce natural resources. Because of GaN’s ability to operate power systems at higher powers and in smaller sizes, the use of copper, plastic and other materials is greatly reduced.
In consumer devices, GaN Systems’ partners are also making step-function improvements in efficiency and using fewer materials in their products. Dell and Harman are taking the lead. Not only did Harman reduce the size of its chargers and use less material in its manufacturing, Harman took the extra step of using 90% recycled plastic in its products.
Investors see GaN technology as an essential weapon in the fight against climate change, says GaN Systems. Long-time investors in the firm who participated in November’s $150m growth round and who are also said to be leaders in cleantech include Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Cycle Capital, Export Development Canada (EDC), and BMW iVentures. New investors in the round include Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC (which led the round) as well as USI, Vitesco Technologies, Dockyard Capital Management, and GoldenSand Capital.
“As a long-time investor in GaN Systems, we have always seen the potential for GaN to empower customers to deliver on the net-zero promise,” says Cycle Capital’s founder & managing partner Andrée-Lise Méthot. “We have been particularly impressed with the company’s leadership in reliability and efficiency, which is evidenced in industry leaders choosing GaN Systems for their next-generation power needs. We will continue to support the company as it delivers on its mission and look forward to seeing a next-generation continued positive impact on sustainability from GaN’s continued success,” she adds.
“Interest in the round was strong from the beginning,” notes GaN Systems’ chief financial officer Chris Zegarelli. “We saw a range of investors, from strategic partners looking to deepen long-standing relationships to new investors recognizing our technology leadership and seeing the inherent sustainability benefits of GaN,” he adds.
“GaN Systems’ gallium nitride semiconductors represent a key enabling technology for the clean energy transition. GaN brings about important efficiency and performance gains in electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. This technology will also help to significantly reduce energy consumption in data centers and in millions of consumer electronic devices,” says Zoltan Tompa, managing director of BDC Capital’s Cleantech Practice. “As a long-time investor in GaN Systems, BDC Capital is pleased to increase its support for this high-impact Canadian clean technology company,” he adds.
“We saw strong interest and support from strategic partners in this round,” notes GaN Systems’ CEO Jim Witham. “Our collaboration with Vitesco and USI will enhance our leadership in GaN for electric vehicles. Our partnership with GoldenSand Capital will enable us to drive growth in China across multiple target markets. These partnerships build on a long-standing collaboration with BMW, Toyota, Siemens and others to continue to drive momentum in GaN across our target markets,” he adds. “We at GaN Systems are all looking forward to working with these great companies to proliferate GaN across automotive, consumer, enterprise and industrial markets.”