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New Public-Private Manufacturing Innovation Institute Announced

ABB, Delphi, John Deer, Toshiba and others join seven universities in North Carolina to boost advanced manufacturing.

Power electronics got a boost from President Obama as he announced today that a new manufacturing innovation institute, called The Next Generation Power Electronics Institute, will be located in North Carolina.

The winning consortium, led by North Carolina State University and headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, includes the State of North Carolina and:

18 Companies: ABB, APEI, Avogy, Cree, Delphi, Delta Products, DfR Solutions, Gridbridge, Hesse Mechantronics, II-VI, IQE, John Deere, Monolith Semiconductor, RF Micro Devices, Toshiba International, Transphorm, USCi, Vacon

7 Universities and Labs: North Carolina State [Lead], The University of North Carolina, Arizona State University, Florida State University, University of California at Santa Barbara, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The new institute is focused on enabling the next generation of energy-efficient, high-power electronic chips and devices by making wide bandgap semiconductor technologies cost-competitive with current silicon-based power electronics in the next five years. 

These improvements will make power electronic devices like motors, consumer electronics, and devices that support our power grid faster, smaller, and more efficient. 

The DOE-supported manufacturing innovation institute’s headquarters will be located on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. The university will also host some of the institute’s shared research and development facilities and testing equipment, as well as workforce development and education programs.

The Department of Energy is awarding $70 million over five years, matched by at least $70 million in non-federal commitments by the winning team of businesses and universities, along with the state of North Carolina. 

The institute will provide shared facilities, equipment, and testing and modeling capabilities to companies across the power electronics supply chain, particularly small and medium-size manufacturers, to help invent, design and manufacture new semiconductor chips and devices. The institute will also pair chip designers and manufacturers with large power electronic manufacturers and suppliers, such as John Deere and Delphi, to bring these technologies to market faster and will offer training, higher education programs and hands-on internships that give American workers the skills for new job opportunities and meet the needs of this emerging and globally competitive industry.

The new institute is part of the President’s plan announced in May. The government committed $200 million across five Federal agencies – Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, building off the success of a pilot institute headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio. 

The additional two institutes led by the Department of Defense – focused on Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation and Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing – are still in the selection process and will be awarded in the coming weeks.

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