AES Semigas


27 February 2024

DOE launches $2.25m American-Made Silicon Carbide Packaging Prize

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity (OE) has launched the $2.25m American-Made Silicon Carbide (SiC) Packaging Prize. This contest invites competitors to propose, design, build and test state-of-the-art SiC semiconductor packaging prototypes to enable these devices to work more effectively in high-voltage environments such as energy storage. The prize is part of the American-Made Challenges program, which fosters collaboration between the USA’s entrepreneurs and innovators, DOE’s National Labs, and the private sector.

“Silicon carbide has become a mature and widely used technology for systems requiring power delivery, particularly charging and discharging in energy storage applications like electric vehicle charging and solar systems with batteries,” says Gene Rodrigues, assistant secretary for Electricity.

While silicon carbide material can withstand high voltage fluctuations and temperatures, conventional device packaging for them overheats, limiting performance in electronic equipment. Improved packaging can therefore enable greater SiC applications, advancing the transition to ‘clean’ energy.

To enable these devices to work most effectively and to advance storage of the generated renewable energy, SiC power modules need to be expanded to higher voltage and higher current ratings. The SiC Prize offers a total prize pool of $2.25m across three phases:

  • Phase 1 – Design Study: Participants will describe their team, plan to make progress toward developing SiC semiconductor packaging and showcase any prototypes. As part of this phase, participants will show evidence of a design prototype that meets or exceeds Phase 2 metrics. Up to 10 winning teams will receive $50,000 each and will be eligible to compete in Phase 2. (Total prize pool: $500,000).
  • Phase 2 – Initial Demonstration: Winning teams from Phase 1 will develop a physical prototype of their SiC packaging solution that meets Phase 2 metrics. Teams must send their prototypes to a national lab for testing to validate the metrics achieved. At the end of Phase 2, four winning teams will receive $250,000 each and become eligible to compete in Phase 3. (Total prize pool: $1m).
  • Phase 3 – Final Demonstration: Teams will continue the development of their SiC packaging solution and showcase their working prototypes. They will work to achieve the high-voltage and high-current targets while continuing to innovate towards an improvement in packaging. One winning team will be named Grand Prize winner and be awarded $750,000. (Total prize pool: $750,000).

The competition is open only to private entities (for-profits and non-profits); non-federal government entities such as states, counties, tribes and municipalities, academic institutions; and individuals. Submissions are due by 30 August.

Tags: SiC Power electronics


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