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Volvo Invests in Company Developing Silicon Carbide for Possible Use in Hybrid Vehicle Applications.

SciTech21-7 December 2006-Volvo Invests in Company Developing Silicon Carbide for Possible Use in Hybrid Vehicle Applications(C)2006 JeraOne -

Volvo Technology Transfer today announced an investment in TranSiC AB, a year-old company that has developed an energy-efficient conductor made of silicon carbide.

The conductor is used, among other things, when battery direct current is converted into alternating current in an electric motor. Volvo is currently studying silicon carbide and its applications in hybrid vehicles.

The basis for today's technology is semiconductors made of silicon, which cannot withstand high temperatures or high electrical voltages.

"One problem with electric hybrid vehicles is that they often require cooling of both the motor and the electronics," said Anders Kroon, head of hybrid technology at Volvo Group. "With silicon carbide, the heat losses are small, so perhaps no cooling will be needed."

Silicon carbide, which is as hard as a diamond and used in applications such as in the angle-grinding of discs, can withstand extremely high temperatures. Another advantage, according to Kroon, is that with silicon carbide the vehicle's electronics can be made "far smaller and much more compact. This in turn makes the entire vehicle lighter and cheaper."

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Date:Dec 7, 2006
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