AES Semigas


23 February 2024

SK Siltron CSS secures conditional commitment from US DOE for $544m loan

Compound semiconductor wafer maker SK Siltron CSS of Auburn, MI, USA (a subsidiary of South Korea-based wafer manufacturer SK Siltron, a part of South Korea's second-largest conglomerate SK Group) has secured a conditional commitment from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for a loan of up to $544m.

The loan to be made under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program administered by the DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is meant to expand US manufacturing of silicon carbide (SiC) wafers, citing their use in electric vehicle (EV) power electronics. The loan will increase manufacturing capacity at SK Siltron CSS’ facility in Bay City, Michigan and create up to an additional 200 jobs, for an estimated total of 450 workers by project completion in 2027.

SK Siltron CSS’ facility in Bay City, Michigan.

Picture: SK Siltron CSS’ facility in Bay City, Michigan.

“This project is an important step towards ensuring a resilient and robust supply chain in the United States,” says SK Siltron CSS’ CEO Jianwei Dong Ph.D. “Completion of our facility with support from ATVM funding not only strengthens our nation’s manufacturing technology but also fuels job creation, laying the foundation for innovation and economic growth in Michigan and the broader United States.”

SK Siltron CSS has already doubled the initial estimated number of jobs it would create in Michigan, currently employing 250 workers across its facilities in Bay City and Auburn, following a $300m investment in the Bay City facility announced in 2021.

SiC wafers are more efficient at handling high power and conducting heat than incumbent silicon, and semiconductors made with these wafers can mean faster charging times and 5-10% further driving range for EVs. However,

The high-quality SiC wafers required to maximize the performance improvements for EVs – greater efficiency at handling high power and conducting heat than incumbent silicon, enabling faster charging times and 5–10% further driving range – are currently under-supplied, and demand is expected to rise with EV sales.

Final approval of the loan remains subject to completion of certain closing conditions. If finalized, the financing will help SK Siltron CSS to leverage its two existing Michigan manufacturing plants to address this market gap. Much of the historic R&D for the manufacturing process has occurred at the company’s facility in Auburn, Michigan. The expanded Bay City plant will use technology developed in Auburn to create the high-quality wafers to support the EV market.

SK Siltron acquired DuPont’s Compound Semiconductor Solutions business in March 2020 to support the growing global demand for power electronics components in high power density applications like electric vehicles. Since then, SK Siltron CSS has focused on rapidly expanding its production capacity and has already increased by several multiples since the acquisition, including through the purchase and initial investment in the new Bay City facility that is currently being outfitted. As a result of SK Siltron CSS’ rapid expansion in the market, the company has entered into agreements with industry-leading customers. In November 2022, SK Siltron CSS announced a long-term supply agreement with Qorvo; in January, another long-term supply agreement was announced with Infineon Technologies AG.

See related items:

SK Siltron CSS to supply silicon carbide wafers to Infineon

Qorvo and SK Siltron CSS sign long-term silicon carbide supply agreement

SK Siltron CSS announces $300m Michigan expansion, adding second facility and up to 150 jobs

Tags: SiC substrates



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