ZF and Wolfspeed have announced plans to establish a joint European R&D center for silicon carbide power electronics in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region in Germany. The facility is part of a partnership announced earlier this year, which also includes an investment by ZF to support the development of the Wolfspeed Silicon Carbide chip factory in Ensdorf, Saarland.
The partnership’s goal is for the European R&D center and the Ensdorf device fab to help establish a new European silicon carbide technology and innovation network, the supports the development of silicon carbide systems, products and applications that encompass the full value chain, from modules to entire systems to greatly reduce time-to-market.
The new joint research facility is supported by the German federal government and the regional government of Bavaria. Funding for both sites is still subject to the approval of the European Commission under the EU’s Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) scheme. Once IPCEI funding approval has been granted for both facilities, construction is expected to begin later on in 2023.
The research center will cater for the requirements of multiple vehicles, including the consumer, commercial, agricultural and industrial markets. Through the joint development work, the partnership seeks to bring a multitude of technology improvements, including enhanced efficiency, improved power density and a higher overall performance.
“The research center is of outstanding importance for the energy and mobility transition in the EU and supports the strategic goals of Europe,” said Dr Holger Klein, CEO of ZF. “In addition, optimizing silicon carbide technology advances industrial transformation and strengthens the independence of European supply chains.”
“This research facility further strengthens our partnership with ZF and underlines our long-term commitment to turn our unique know-how from more than 35 years of experience in silicon carbide power electronics into state-of-the-art solutions for our industry partners,” commented Gregg Lowe, CEO of Wolfspeed.
“This connection is unique and will lead to enormous advances in silicon carbide-based electrical systems and electric drives,” explained Stephan von Schuckmann, member of the board of management, ZF. “This is made possible by the close networking of the research center and production, because fundamentally redesigned silicon carbide chips also require new production processes.”