PowerAmerica, the Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and Lockheed Martin are partnering to develop a new generation of power-efficient microelectronic devices that will reduce energy loss across the power grid and enhance the performance of future aerospace systems. Led by NC State University, PowerAmerica is one of five institutes established to date under the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), a nationwide network aimed at revolutionizing American manufacturing.
As one of the institute’s sustaining members, Lockheed Martin will partner on projects to accelerate the commercialization of wide bandgap power electronics technologies, which allow for electronic components to be smaller, faster and more efficient than their current silicon-based counterparts.
“Wide bandgap semiconductors have huge potential for aerospace and defense, especially in embedded power systems and high-power radio frequency applications,” said Jeff Wilcox, vice president of engineering for Lockheed Martin. “For example, next-generation power electronics could significantly reduce the size of an aircraft’s cooling system. Just as important, this technology will reduce operating costs in large data centers and decrease energy use across the entire power grid.”
Through partnerships with industry, academia and government, PowerAmerica will establish a workforce development program and apply next-generation technology to develop new design tools, provide data, and improve processes, manufacturing techniques and packaging solutions.
“At PowerAmerica, we are capturing the most promising technical solutions in power electronics to accelerate the commercialization of wide bandgap semiconductor technologies,” said Gen. Nick Justice, executive director at PowerAmerica. “Right now, these technologies are too expensive to get into products to reap the advantages, but thanks to partners like Lockheed Martin, we can bring costs down and open the door to electronic devices that will perform better, be more efficient and cost less.”