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ST has been engaging in SiC R&D for over 25 years

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Techmezine speaks with Gianfranco Di Marco, Marketing Communication Manager – Power Transistor Sub-Group, STMicroelectronics, on ST ’s SiC products and growth for ST in India .

1. Tell us about ST SiC products and its key applications ?

With over 25 years of focus on SiC technology working on our own and in concert with academic and research institutes, ST is today a market leader in this technology with an estimated share exceeding 50% (Source: Yole). Our success in SiC results from ST’s commitment to deliver the benefits of this breakthrough technology to customers seeking dramatic efficiency improvement in key energy conversion systems. As an example, ST pioneered the development of dedicated Automotive SiC products that have enabled an industry leader to accelerate the deployment of advanced electric vehicles (EVs). Today ST’s SiC portfolio contains more than 100 different automotive and industrial projects. Our current Gen3 SiC products are offered in voltage ranges suitable for both 400 V and 800 V motor drives. Moreover, our products are used in the EV’s 3 main power systems: the traction inverter, the DC-DC converters, and the on-board charger (OBC). In addition, these same products are also used in the climate control unit and outside the vehicle, in the high-power, fast-charging systems that represent the backbone of the electrified eco-system. SiC products are beginning to be used in industrial applications where high energy efficiency is critical, such as in solar inverters, energy Storage, high-end power supplies and motor drives.

2 . What are the new SiC innovations you actually introduce in the EV Market ?

Our STPOWER SiC MOSFETs are designed to suit car makers’ challenging requirements for high efficiency, while also surpassing their need for robust and reliable electronics. This means that our devices help slash heat dissipation losses and improve thermal operation, enabling big power-density increases. As a result, an EV equipped with ST’s SiC MOSFETs has much greater range from a given battery pack and can operate with a cooling system 50% smaller and lighter, delivering cost and range benefits to the car maker and car owner.

3. What are your upcoming SiC strategies for the development of the EV industry ?

Our strategy is multifaceted. First, we keep innovating at a high pace to meet the ever-challenging requirements from our customers. For example, today while we produce our Gen3 SiC in high volume, we are also working on the next two generations of the technology. We’re also working on approaches to incorporate advanced process steps such as super junction and trench to future STPOWER SiC MOSFETs. We are also putting the finishing touches on our fully integrated manufacturing approach, building a fab to grow our own SiC substrates to assure customers of an even more secure and resilient supply chain. The new full integrated fab, which is the first of its kind in Europe, is under construction at our main production site in Catania, Italy. From here, we’ll cover at least 40% of our substrate needs by 2024 using in-house production. We are also producing SiC products in Singapore. The Singapore and Catania fabs currently handle 6” (or 150 mm) wafers, and we have already successfully tested 8” (200 mm) wafers. These can already be handled using already installed equipment to ensure a smooth transition.

4. What are your current competitors in the SiC market, and what are your plans to achieve the required growth for ST in India ?

We compete with several companies that are based in Europe, USA, and Japan. In India, the main interest in SiC is in industrial applications such as high-end power supplies, renewable energy generation, Uninterruptible power supplies, and electric vehicle (EV) chargers, but we expect the EV sector to start catching up soon. Our local offices in India are pursuing several initiatives to support market growth in the region.

5. What would you like to add about your 2023 Goals ?

Our 2023 goals for SiC including completing the construction of our fully integrated fab in Catania. This fab has already started loading in the first equipment. Our other goal, announced by our CEO several years ago, is to reach a milestone revenue target for SiC in 2023.

 

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