01、From consumer to vehicle level, what are the advantages of GaN technology?
As one of the core technologies in the field of power electronics, the power conversion technology based on GaN has been widely used in consumer electronics, data center and other fields, which plays a key role in improving the efficient utilization of electric energy and realizing energy saving and emission reduction.
At present, GaN is moving from the low-power consumer electronics market to the high-power data center, photovoltaic inverters, communication power supply and other markets. These applications require power supplies with greater power density, higher energy efficiency, higher switching frequencies, better thermal management, and smaller dimensions, and GaN is a key step toward achieving these goals.
The global GaN power device market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30% between 2021 and 2027, and the market size is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2027, source: Yole
According to industry forecasts, the global GaN power device market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% from 2021 to 2027, and its market size is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2027. This growth is mainly driven by the need for miniaturization and high efficiency of power electronic devices. Due to the physical properties of GaN, it is able to provide miniaturized and efficient solutions for power electronic devices.
For example, the low switching loss and high operating frequency of GaN can significantly improve the operating efficiency and power density of the power supply, which has largely driven its application in the power supply market.
The choice of silicon, silicon carbide, or GaN as a material depends on the specific requirements of the application scenario, such as cost, thermal conductivity, and conduction frequency. It is reported that the European Union has started the project in 2021, the goal is to increase the voltage of GaN to 1200V, and increase the wafer size from 6 inches to 12 inches. This means that GaN products have begun to be used in areas such as electric vehicles, and in the future, with the construction of base stations, the demand for gallium nitride will continue to grow. In addition, the application of GaN in electric vehicles (EVs) can significantly improve charging speed, reduce device size, and increase the overall efficiency of the system.
According to industry insiders, GaN can significantly improve the charging efficiency of electric vehicles, shorten the charging time by 60%, and increase the power of the charger from the original 6.6 kW to 22 kW, thus increasing the overall charging speed by three times. In addition, GaN plays a key role in bidirectional circuits, reducing battery power loss by 5% and indirectly increasing battery life by 5%.
According to industry forecasts, the total market opportunity for gallium nitride chips in electric vehicles will exceed $2.5 billion per year by 2025. According to the third generation semiconductor industry alliance CASA, the silicon carbide industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 37.5 percent, reaching 24.5 billion by 2026.
02、What are the challenges facing the popularization of Gallium nitride?
Despite the huge market potential of gallium nitride, its popularity in the automotive market still faces some challenges. Major challenges include issues of reliability, product models, production models and design processes. At present, the main products of gallium nitride are 650V devices, and if you want to meet the higher voltage applications, you need to constantly improve its process and design.
However, the widespread application of gallium nitride components will not be smooth sailing. Due to its high performance, a large number of devices using gallium nitride components will inevitably face the challenge of small size and high efficiency. With the adoption of 800V battery systems, the real challenge is where to go next.
As for silicon-based Gans, despite their wide application, there are challenges, and the manufacturing process can create many defects, causing damage or premature rupture. The mainstream gallium nitride technology platform is silicon-based gallium nitride and sapphire gallium nitride, both of which are lower cost commercial technologies. In the beginning, epitaxial technology was a core competence, but now there are many companies that can license the use of epitaxial technology, so its importance has been reduced.
At present, the technical barriers in the field of gallium nitride have shifted from epitaxial to vertical GaN, which will be the main challenge for Chinese manufacturers in the future. Today, from the development and design of devices to packaging, and then to the manufacturing of the entire system, this entire industry chain is the real key to competition.