Silicon Carbide's Meteoric Rise

Published on07 JAN 2019
Technology Driving Innovation

For the first time, silicon carbide – a material older than the solar system – is helping power electric vehicles and ease the use of solar technology. While the compound was first discovered in meteorites dating back over 4.6 billion years, it’s now possible to synthesize it and use it to make power semiconductors. “Silicon carbide’s advantages can be summed up in one word – efficiency,” explains Alexander Duval of Goldman Sachs Research. Although cheaper silicon-based devices are more widespread, silicon carbide can withstand higher temperatures and preserve more energy than silicon, benefiting power sources like batteries. Duval believes that silicon carbide could ultimately slash the cost of manufacturing EVs and installing solar inverters – savings that will outweigh its higher initial cost in the long run.

In our view, silicon carbide-based power semiconductors can reduce costs and improve performance in fast-growing end applications ranging from electric vehicles to solar power.

- Alexander Duval