Power devices market evolution and related technical developments

An article written by Ana Villamor from Yole Développement (Yole) and Elena Barbarini from System Plus Consulting, for Power Electronics News – Nowadays, we are living in an era driven by electrification and automatization, with a special focus on reducing pollution and increasing efficiencies, and the power electronics market is evolving to achieve these goals. High COemissions need to decrease to achieve a cleaner environment, and a significant part of this reduction can be reached by vehicle electrification. The major countries in the world have already committed to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050, even though to reach this goal, more clean energy sources are needed, and infrastructure has to be developed to transport the electricity. Energy consumption will decrease by using more efficient converters. The use of different technologies or packaging materials will also contribute to a cleaner environment.

According to the Status of the Power Electronics Industry report, Yole Développement, 2020: the global power electronics market is worth $17.5 billion and will grow with a 4.3% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2019-2025. Within this market, we can differentiate two different major driving components: discretes and modules.

Discrete devices: the largest market for power semiconductors

Today, the largest share of the power device market is for silicon MOSFET devices, which account for 44% of the total power market value. Despite the decrease in automotive and consumer end-system sales due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the first half of 2020, we still expect a CAGR2019-2025 of 2.3%.

Overall, MOSFET accounts for 74% of the discrete market with significant shares for consumer, computing, and automotive markets, while other reliable Silicon components, such as IGBTs, are used in lower volumes for white goods or welding systems. Yole expects that the MOSFET market share will decrease with the penetration of GaN devices in consumer fast chargers: 2019 and 2020 have seen many such adoptions, with Chinese OEMs adopting GaN for high power inbox chargers for luxury phones (Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo or Meizu) and accessory fast charger adoption from Samsung and Huawei. As seen in the SiC Transistor Comparison report, System Plus Consulting, 2020: on the other hand, we think that there will be a limited market for SiC discrete transistors, today used in large quantities in onboard charger (OBC) systems for high efficiency systems, but the driving force for SiC will be in modules.

Indeed, from a theoretical point of view, GaN offers fantastic technical advantages over traditional Si MOSFET. Moreover, the lowering of prices can make GaN devices a good competitor to the currently used Si-based power switching transistors. Nevertheless, the improvement of silicon SJ MOSFETs will keep these devices in the market and drive standardization and popularization. Thus, the technical landscape is not clear; every manufacturer presents its own solution for die design and packaging integration… Full article