China's IGBT companies have another way: to support new energy applications

In June of this year, the "PCIM China 2010", a grand event of the power semiconductor industry, was held at the Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center. Well-known power semiconductor manufacturers at home and abroad showed their new products and many energy-efficient solutions to the audience. The reporter observed that the application of power semiconductors in the field of new energy has become a hot spot in this exhibition, and the future development prospects of China's power device industry are also very concerned topics in the industry.

New energy applications drive device upgrades
"Our slogan at the PCIM China show is 'low carbon and energy saving'." Nishimura Takashi, director of Mitsubishi Electric Power Devices Manufacturing Co., told the China Electronics News, "At this exhibition, Mitsubishi Electric targets renewable energy. Two power device products have been introduced in the application field. According to Nishimura Takashi, in these two products, the new PV-IPM can be said to be tailor-made for home solar power systems, and PV-IPM can be used to generate solar cells. DC power is converted to AC, the area of ​​the product is reduced by about 30% compared with the previous products, and the loss of switching current will be reduced by 25%. Mitsubishi Electric's new MPD series IGBT modules are aimed at large-capacity renewable energy equipment. The rated current is 1.8 times that of the previous generation, and the cooling effect is further optimized to meet the requirements of MW-class wind energy and solar power system power conversion devices.

Among most power conversion devices in the field of new energy, IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) is the most important device. Compared with Europe, Japan and the United States, China is still relatively backward in this field, although there are some enterprises in China. Research institutes are conducting research and development, but the industrialization process is slow and the technology is also lagging behind. However, in recent years, Chinese companies have also made many useful explorations to enhance their R&D and production capabilities in the IGBT field.

At this year's PCIM exhibition, CSR Times Electric's Power Electronics Division demonstrated to the industry power device products for locomotive traction and new energy. In 2008, CSR Times Electric acquired Dynex, a well-known high-power semiconductor company in the world, and realized the leap-forward development of technology and industrialization through capital operation. Wu Yidong, general manager of CSR Electric Power Electronics Division, said in an interview: "The three giants in the global high-power IGBT field are Infineon, ABB and Mitsubishi Electric. Compared with them, Dynex's biggest weakness is lack. A system application platform. Therefore, CSR Times Electric acquired Dynex, which can use the company's rail transit equipment manufacturing business to provide an application platform for Dynex's high-power IGBT technology, thereby enhancing the company's overall competitiveness. In addition, CSR Times Electric also has wind power The power generation business unit will also provide power semiconductor devices for use in new energy fields."

New materials are opportunities for Chinese companies
“In the past 20 years, a lot of patents have been generated around IGBT devices. Companies in Europe, the US and Japan have already formed huge technological advantages in this field.” Lan Jian, Vice President, Marketing and Application Engineering, Fairchild Semiconductor Asia Pacific In an interview with China Electronics News, Bronze said, "If it is only for silicon-based IGBTs, I think it is difficult for Chinese local companies to compete. However, if new materials such as compound semiconductors are used, the IGBT industry will be introduced into a new one. The competition platform, Chinese companies still have opportunities in this field. However, in my opinion, the maturity of new materials will take about 10 years."

According to the introduction of the special professor of Yangtze River, School of Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University, silicon carbide, gallium nitride and diamond are three common wide-bandgap semiconductor materials. At present, many foreign companies have mass-produced 4-inch silicon carbide wafers, 6 inches. Silicon carbide wafers will also emerge soon, making silicon carbide the most mature of the three wide bandgap materials, providing a solid foundation for the development of silicon carbide power devices. "However, due to the high price of silicon carbide single wafers and epitaxial materials, the price of silicon carbide devices is quite high, which has become a threshold for their large-scale market applications." Sheng added.

Foreign companies have not neglected the research and development of new materials and new devices. “From three years from 2009 to 2011, we will focus on developing silicon carbide devices.” Nishimura said, “Because of the high cost of silicon carbide devices, the market’s acceptance of such devices depends on how To what extent the overall cost of the system is reduced. For example, on high-speed electric trains, if a silicon-based IGBT is used, a large cooling device is required; but if a silicon carbide device is used, the cooling device can be miniaturized or even saved. Going, this is very attractive for high-speed trains. Therefore, SiC devices will gradually take advantage of them in specific areas."

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