Green Diamond - The Future of Power Electronics


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GreenDiamond, with its 14 partners, is a €4 million European Horizon 2020 project launched in June 2015 to develop breakthrough 10 kV diamond transistor technology for sustainable high power electronics. The project was awarded funding for 4 years and will make new contributions to the energy challenge faced by Europe and the world and contribute to the foundations of our future low-carbon society. It will also consolidate the leadership of the European diamond community in the field of green electronics - highly efficient electronic devices.

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Diamond’s exceptional electronic and thermal properties make it the ultimate semiconductor for efficient transmission and conversion of electrical energy and could play a vital role in our future low-carbon society. As the project reaches its midpoint, LCN researchers within UCL’s Diamond Electronics Group have produced a video introducing the goals of the GreenDiamond project and its consortium of 15 academic, research and industrial partners from 6 different countries. 

The GreenDiamond project aims to produce high power transistors that will increase the efficiency of electricity production, distribution and adaptability to future smart grids with delocalized renewable energy sources. According to the International Energy Association, in Spain alone it is estimated that 9% of electrical energy is wasted in grid losses. This is likely to increase with time due to the material limits of available technologies. Diamond however has a dielectric breakdown strength 3 times higher than that of silicon carbide and more than 30 times better than that of silicon, the carrier mobility is very high and the thermal conductivity is unsurpassed, making it the ideal candidate for such applications and offering the possibility of a step change in performance. 

“GreenDiamond brings together the best labs in Europe and industry to make this step change in technology happen and enhance European leadership in the field. It is an exciting time for diamond and power electronics” said Etienne Gheeraert from Institut Néel. 

Gheeraert is leading the consortium composed of groups from the CNRS Institut Néel and G2ELab, CEA and ESRF (France), UCL and University of Cambridge, IMEC (Belgium), Fraunhofer IAF (Germany), University of Cadiz, Tecnalia and CSIC-CNM (Spain). Industrial partners include Camutronics (UK), Ion Beam Services (France) and Win Inertia (Spain) as a potential end user. Wavestone (Luxembourg), in collaboration with Institut Néel, are responsible for the management of the project.

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