Ideal Power Inc. is an innovator of power conversion technologies and just announced that its semiconductor foundry partner has successfully completed prototypes of its Bi-Directional Bi-Polar Junction TRANsistor (B-TRAN). We dove into the unique properties of its B-TRAN semiconductor when it was first introduced. Ideal Power holds over 20 patents on the B-TRAN including patents on the unique double handle wafer process that was used to produce the initial devices.
Due to its anticipated low conduction and switching losses, Ideal Power believes that the B-TRAN has the capability to improve the efficiency of a range of power control and conversion equipment, such as variable frequency drives, solar PV inverters, bi-directional energy storage and microgrid power conversion systems, electric vehicle drivetrains, solid-state DC and AC contactors, and other power conversion products. IHS Technology projects that the power semiconductor market will be over $20 billion by 2019.
“Currently, four conventional switches (two IGBTs and two diodes) are required to control power bi-directionally,” says Bill Alexander, CTO of Ideal Power and co-inventor of the B-TRAN. “We believe that the B-TRAN will be able to perform the same function with efficiency losses predicted to be 1/10th that of conventional switches. Additionally, the faster switching performance predicted for the B-TRAN should result in more efficient, smaller and lower cost power converters.”
Earlier this year, Ideal Power announced that first silicon test results by its semiconductor foundry validated key characteristics of its B-TRAN technology. The results confirmed central B-TRAN elements and operational modes and were consistent with third party device simulations that predicted significant performance and efficiency improvements over conventional power switches such as SCRs, IGBTs and MOSFETs.
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