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Airbus and STMicroelectronics collaborate on SiC and GaN power electronics for aircraft electrification

Airbus and STMicroelectronics signed an agreement to cooperate on power electronics Research & Development to support more efficient and lighter power electronics, essential for future hybrid-powered aircraft and full-electric urban air vehicles.


The collaboration builds on evaluations already conducted by both companies to explore the benefits of wide bandgap semiconductor materials for aircraft electrification.

Wide bandgap semiconductors such as Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) have superior electrical properties compared with traditional semiconductors such as silicon. They enable the development of smaller, lighter and more efficient high-performance electronic devices and systems, particularly in applications requiring high power, high frequency, or high-temperature operations.

The co-operation will focus on developing SiC and GaN devices, packages, and modules adapted for Airbus’ aerospace applications. The companies will assess these components by conducting advanced research and tests on demonstrators, such as e-motor control units, high and low voltage power converters, and wireless power transfer systems.

Decarbonizing flight requires a range of disruptive solutions that mix new fuel types and disruptive technologies. One such solution, hybrid-electric propulsion, can improve the energy efficiency of every aircraft class and reduce aircraft CO2 emissions by up to 5%, according to Airbus. That figure could be as high as 10% for helicopters, generally lighter than fixed-wing aircraft.


Future hybrid and full electric aircraft require megawatts of power to operate. This implies huge improvements in power electronics in terms of integration, performance, efficiency, and component size and weight.


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