President Obama has announced that North Carolina State University will lead the new Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute, in a $140 million initiative that includes a $70 million grant from the Department of Energy – the largest single grant in NC State history.
The new institute will be housed at NC State and include two-dozen academic, government, and industry partners who pitched in to match DOE’s grant. In addition, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory and his administration helped launch the institute by committing $10 million over the next five years.
The institute will look to develop new energy solutions through the use and evolution of a technology called wide bandgap semiconductors. This technology holds the potential to increase system efficiency, reduce the size and weight of devices, improve reliability and durability, and reduce life-cycle cost. NC State is recognized as an international leader in the research and development of wide bandgap semiconductors.
“The reason I came here today is because we’ve got to do more to connect universities like NC State with companies like Vacon to make America the number-one place in the world to open new businesses and create new jobs,” President Obama explained in his speech at the university.
“Folks at this hub are going to develop what are called ‘wide bandgap semiconductors.’ For all you non-engineers out there, here’s what it means in the simplest terms: ‘Semiconductors, obviously, are at the heart of every piece of the electronics that we use every day — your smartphone, your television set, these days everything … Wide bandgap semiconductors, they’re special because they use up to 90 percent less power; they can operate at higher temperatures than normal semiconductors.’ So that means they can make everything from cell phones to industrial motors to electric cars smaller, faster, cheaper. And the country that figures out how to do this first, and the companies that figure how to do this best, they’re the ones that are going to attract the jobs that come with it.”
“NC State couldn’t be more proud to have been selected to lead this new institute, which truly embodies everything that our university stands for – from our Think and Do mentality, to our collaborative spirit and unending commitment to solve to the grand challenges of society,” says NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson.
NC State was selected due to the university’s recognition as the preeminent leader in wide bandgap semiconductor technology, which is critical to the future of global energy use and conservation. The consumption of energy through power devices is projected to make up 80 percent of all electrical energy use by 2030. Such substantial use will have a tremendous impact on economic stability around the world, including a significant drain on energy, an increase in costs to consumers and industries, and potentially harmful effects on the environment.
See the President’s remarks here:[video:http://youtu.be/0XzYa_49MCU]
See Chancellor Woodson’s remarks here:[video:http://youtu.be/73ps0E2dh3Y]