The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday announced $48 million to improve semiconductor materials and devices in order to “enable faster switching and/or triggering at higher current and voltage levels for improved control and protection of the grid.”
The funding will stand up the “Unlocking Lasting Transformative Resiliency Advances by Faster Actuation of power Semiconductor Technologies” program, which will be managed by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
Teams will compete for ULTRAFAST funding in three categories: device and module technologies with protection functions at high voltages, high switching frequency devices, and “complementary technologies” such as wireless voltage sensing.
Semiconductors are essential components in controlling power generation and transmission, particularly in the development of renewable resources.
ULTRAFAST will fund projects that “aim to enable utilities to more effectively control grid power flow to avoid disturbances, and quickly isolate and route around disruptions,” DOE said.
Concept paper submissions are due March 28. According to DOE’s funding opportunity announcement, these papers must include: the concept summary, innovation and Impact, proposed work, and team organization and capabilities. The agency has yet to set a deadline for full applications but expects to notify the grant recipients in August.
Analysts say federal incentives are helping drive investment in semiconductor production, with multiple new factories expected to take orders this year.