Global AC drives manufacturer, Vacon, has been named to participate in the Next Generation Power Electronics Institute at North Carolina State University. The Institute is intended to bring research and commercial product development resources together in a centralized location to improve and make cost-competitive wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor-based power electronics, according to a Vacon announcement. Over the next five years the institute will be financed with $70 million in U.S. Department of Energy support plus a collective $70 million contribution from participating companies and other partners.

“Vacon is honored and excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best minds from industry-leading companies, universities and government agencies to improve technology and energy efficiency,” said Dan Isaksson, vice president, Medium Voltage Drives. “Vacon AC drives adjust the speed of electric motors according to actual process need, typically reducing energy consumption considerably. With improvements in WBG technology, future AC drives have the potential to be even more energy efficient and offer even better performance because they will be able to operate at higher temperatures and switching frequencies than is possible with today’s silicon-based power semiconductors.”

According to Vacon, improving WBD technology—the same materials used in LED light fixtures, many flat screen TVs and other consumer and commercial devices—promises to boost America’s manufacturing base, improve energy efficiency and make power electronic devices faster, smaller and more efficient.

Other industry partners include:

  • ABB
  • Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc.
  • Avogy Inc.
  • Deere & Company
  • Delphi Automotive LLP
  • Delta Products Inc.
  • DfR Solutions
  • Hesse Mechatronics Inc.
  • II-VI Incorporated
  • IQE
  • Monolith Semiconductor Inc.
  • RF Micro Devices Inc.
  • Transphorm Inc.
  • United Si Carbide Inc.