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US DoE announces $2.25M SiC Packaging Prize


Contest invites groups to propose, design, and build new high voltage SiC packaging prototypes

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the American-Made SiC Packaging Prize; a $2.25 million contest that invites competitors to propose, design, build, and test state-of-the-art SiC semiconductor packaging prototypes.

The idea, which comes from the DoE's Office of Electricity, is to find ways to make SiC devices work more effectively in high-voltage environments such as energy storage.

The prize is part of the American-Made Challenges program, which fosters collaboration between entrepreneurs and innovators, DOE’s National Labs, and the private sector.

“SiC has become a mature and widely used technology for systems requiring power delivery, particularly charging and discharging in energy storage applications like electric vehicle charging and solar systems with batteries,” said Gene Rodrigues, assistant secretary for Electricity. “This new competition from the Office of Electricity incentivises researchers to develop innovative packaging techniques to enhance the performance of this technology and increase its availability.”

To enable these devices to work most effectively and to advance energy storage of renewable energy generation, SiC power modules need to be expanded to higher voltage and higher current ratings. The SiC Semiconductor Prize offers a total prize pool of $2.25 million across three phases:

Phase 1 – Design Study In this phase, prize participants will describe their team, plan to make progress toward developing SiC semiconductor packaging and showcase any prototypes. As part of this phase, participants will show evidence of a design prototype that meets or exceeds Phase 2 metrics. Up to ten winning teams will receive $50,000 each and will be eligible to compete in Phase 2. Up to 10 winning teams will receive $50,000 each and will be eligible to compete in Phase 2. (Total prize pool: $500,000)

Phase 2 – Initial Demonstration: In Phase 2, winning teams from Phase 1 will develop a physical prototype of their SiC packaging solution that meets Phase 2 metrics. In this phase, teams must send their prototypes to a national lab for testing to validate the metrics achieved. At the end of Phase 2, four winning teams will receive $250,000 each and become eligible to compete in Phase 3. (Total prize pool: $1 million)

Phase 3 – Final Demonstration: In Phase 3, teams from Phase 2 will continue the development of their SiC packaging solution and showcase their working prototypes. In this phase, teams will work to achieve the high voltage and high current targes while continuing to innovate towards an improvement in packaging. In Phase 3, one winning team will be named Grand Prize winner and be awarded $750,000. (Total prize pool: $750,000)

The competition is open only to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits); non-federal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities, academic institutions; and individuals. Submissions are due by August 30, 2024.

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