For the construction of high-efficiency energy use systems and the formation of networks to achieve a clean and low environmental impact society, the enhancement, full-scale popularization, and social implementation of next generation power electronics have been receiving worldwide attention. This is together with drastically enhancing energy saving effects of home electronics, motors, industrial robots, electric vehicles, trains, and electrical power systems, as well as the foundation for the early introduction and expansion of renewable energy, such as solar photovoltaic generation and wind power generation.
With the support of the primary period (fiscal year 2002-2007) and the second period (fiscal year 2008-2012: the name was changed from the Regional Innovation Cluster Program to the Regional Innovation Strategy Support Program) of the Knowledge Cluster Initiative, the Kyoto Area has achieved many results by developing industry-university-government collaboration research.
Especially, the industrialization development research of small and large capacity SiC power devices, conducted through close industry-university-government collaboration between Kyoto University and ROHM, a regional cooperation, has been drastically advanced. In 2010, they succeeded in the mass production of SiC Schottky diodes for the first time in Japan, and SiC power MOSFETs (metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors) in the world. Furthermore, they succeeded in the mass production of Full-SiC power modules for the first time in the world in 2012. This led to the current research and development program.
An inverter whose prototype used mass-produced SiC power devices has been proven to have significant energy savings. It reduces power loss by 73% compared to conventional Si inverters. The high-performance application fields that devices with SiC power devices or SiC power modules installed are expected to unprecedentedly expand since they can achieve high efficiency (low energy loss), small-size, high temperature operation, and high frequency operation.
In this super cluster, in addition to the High Performance Material and Device Research and Development Group, the Circuit and System Design Research and Development Group, and the Application Research and Development Group centered on universities, a business-to-business collaboration installment promoting research and development group consisting of super cluster participating companies (device and module manufacturers / equipment manufacturers / system manufacturers) including development-oriented small-to-medium-sized enterprises has been formed to together strongly promote commercialization.
With this system, we will ensure global dominance by fiscal 2017, within the term of this project, by prototyping devices and systems such as small and high-frequency switching inverters, micro smart grids, and variable reluctance motors with installed SiC power devices or SiC power modules, and by evaluating the possibility of full-scale popularization and social implementation of SiC power electronics.