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2012.12.05
Dow Corning participates in Electronic Component News (ECN) Roundtable Discussions


Eric Peeters, vice president, Dow Corning Electronics, was chosen to participate in a written roundtable session on the power electronics industry trends for 2013. The question posed and Eric’s response is highlighted below. You can also read this response online at ECN Roundtable site.

Q:ECN:  What trends and technologies have impacted the power electronics industry in 2012 and what does that mean for 2013?
A:Eric Peeters:  The power electronics industry will remember 2012 as the year silicon carbide (SiC) technology turned the corner. With the emergence of high crystal quality 150-mm SiC wafers this year, the entire power electronics value chain began to undergo a fundamental step change. But the impact of that will become truly apparent next year as scale-up to high-volume wafer production begins. Consider for a moment just the United States where electricity comprises 40 percent of the total energy consumed. Already, silicon-based power electronics are pushing their physical limits and, by some estimates, waste over two thirds of the electricity they transmit or control on the grid alone. Silicon carbide is considerably more efficient and reliable than conventional silicon, making it well suited for high-temperature, high-frequency and high-power applications in markets such as transportation, industrial and energy. Until recently, however, SiC wafer diameters and crystal defects, such as micropipes, have limited yields and the use of SiC in high-volume applications. But this year, Dow Corning demonstrated extremely low-defect SiC wafers that share a comparable 150-mm diameter with today’s conventional silicon wafers, heralding the potential for large-area, high-volume manufacturing of SiC substrates. As we bring volume production of these high-purity SiC wafers online through 2013, it will open vast opportunities for an entirely new generation of power electronics devices. The overall impact of SiC-based power electronics could even eventually manifest as a U.S. domestic energy savings of approximately $400 billion annually, according to the USA DOE.  If we extrapolate that worldwide, the potential cost savings are staggering.

ECN magazine is a leading publication for electronic OEM design and development engineers and engineering managers for new products, components and systems with over 125,000 website visitors a month.

About Dow Corning
Dow Corning (dowcorning.com) provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company’s Dow Corning® and XIAMETER ® brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are outside the United States. Dow Corning’s global operations adhere to the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative, a stringent set of standards designed to advance the safe and secure management of chemical products and processes.

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