Power Semiconductors

Renesas and Wolfspeed sign 10 year SiC semiconductor deal

06 July 2023
An artist rendering of Wolfspeed’s John Palmour manufacturing center which is slated to begin construction in 2024. The fab along with other facilities will expand Wolfspeed’s SiC semiconductor capacity by 10-fold. Source: Wolfspeed

Renesas Electronics Corp. and Wolfspeed have agreed to a wafer supply agreement that will secure a supply of silicon carbide (SiC) bare and epitaxial wafers from Wolfspeed for 10 years.

Under this $2 billion deal with Renesas, Wolfspeed will scale production of SiC power semiconductors beginning in 2025. The agreement also anticipates supplying Renesas with 200 mm SiC bare and epitaxial wafers from its John Palmour manufacturing center.

The move furthers the hot demand for SiC semiconductors due to the automotive transition to electrified models. SiC semiconductors are used in both the production of electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging stations.

Renesas said it is expanding its power semiconductor by expanding in-house manufacturing capacity. This includes the restart of its Kofu factory to produce IGBTs and the establishment of a SiC production line at its Takaski fab. With this agreement, Renesas will also get a supply of SiC semiconductors from an external source in Wolfspeed.

SiC semiconductors have higher energy efficiency, greater power density and lower system cost than traditional power chips. This makes them a fit for not just EVs but other renewable energy and storage options, charging infrastructure, industrial power supplies and more.

Expanding SiC production

Wolfspeed is quickly expanding its capacity for SiC devices as it will build its first semiconductor fab in Europe, a 200 mm wafer factory that will produce these chips. The fab will be built in Saarland, Germany, and is part of Wolfspeed’s broader $6.5 billion capacity expansion effort that will also see the company expand its other SiC operations in the U.S.

The company will also start construction on phase one of its John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide, a 200 mm wafer fab in Durham, North Carolina. Phase one will begin in 2024 and cost about $1.3 billion. By the end of the decade capacity will be added, equal to one million square feet.

Wolfspeed said the facilities will help generate more than a 10-fold increase in SiC production capacity.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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