STMicroelectronics Industrial Solutions Addressing the Rising Demand for Renewable Energy

STMicroelectronics recently hosted its Industrial Summit Media Event 2022 on the virtual platform and in person on November 3rd in China.  Although ST had such summits in past also but this year’s summit was more extraordinary with the theme “Powering Your Sustainable Innovation” where the focus was on ST’s progress towards achieving sustainability with help of innovation. Francesco MUGGERI, VP of Marketing & Applications, Power Discrete and Analog, APEC/China of STMicroelectronics explained how ST industrial solutions are helping to achieve its 2027 carbon neutral goal by saving energy and improving efficiency.  Below are key highlights from the event.

The effort to save a little bit in efficiency seems a little, but actually, it is a lot.

He explained that ST’s any kind of solution has one factor common which is to save energy and improve efficiency. For example, 1% of energy in the industrial market means saving 15 nuclear plants’ production of energy. And with strong contributions to CO2 emission, reducing by 32 million tons which is a big number.

Perhaps I can add another element. While talking about residential usage he described, How little power is consumed by per-person chargers or adapters may seem to be less but as they are connected to the grid all the time and are on standby, thus calculating power usage in 24 hours is not less.

STMicroelectronics’s three industrial market segments

Power & Energy, Motor Control and Automation are three focused areas for ST under the industrial segment.

Under Power & Energy, St key application areas include Power supplies and converters, Energy generation and storage, LED lighting and controls, Metering and power line communication.

Home appliances & aircon, Motor drivers & servo drivers, power & garden tools, and high-end consumer motor control contribute to Motor Control applications.

Under the Automation category ST addresses, factory automation systems, Industrial robots, Smart homes, building & city automation, Smart farming &agriculture.

The Three Competence Centers

There are three specific focuses. The first one is helping to generate clean energy. The second one is helping to create efficiency in the solution and energy transmission. And another one is helping with intelligence by introducing automation, therefore reducing energy.

Power and Energy Competence Center

From the application point of view, in the Competence Center, we are also targeting to develop solutions with the DC/DC 30kW. And we are planning for a 60kW. From a product point of view, SiC products will be the main driver. In addition, we need to have the modules because when you go above the 30kW solution, you require modules and preferably, SiC modules. So we are equipped, we are looking at this, and it is also one of the key focuses in our Power and Energy Competence Center.

 Automation Competence Centre

ST introduce the solution of 360-degree support for factory automation. ST showcased sensors, data edging for sensors, seamless communication with IO link, and how this data was connected using the interface, and safety.

Competence Center for Motor Control

Talking about Motor control, he cited, “50% of the world’s energy is consumed by motors. So there is great potential for energy-efficiency improvement and CO2 emission reduction by improving the energy efficiency of motors and their drivers.” He mentioned intelligent motor control can help to improve efficiency by using various sensors including MEMS, motors can make many decisions proactively and become more intelligent. Secondly, through constant iteration and improvement of MCU computing power, motors can identify the environment intelligently.

ST introduced a solution with the dual motor precision position control with the 2 motors from left and right rotating after synchronizing matching for building up the logo. So by optimizing the portion of energy, (we need to) optimize the motor, (which) means reducing vibration and reducing the energy that is used. So the optimization of this process requires firmware and requires hardware. And all these are available in ST.

Silicon Carbide

Speaking of Silicon Carbide (SiC) MUGGERI said, “We have huge investment in the new plant. Our CEO’s speech today was very clear (about it). We are producing our raw wafers. Everything is going on smoothly. Our new plant is in Catania and we are already able to say that by end of 2024, we will produce the first raw wafers.”  “We are the leader of SiC. When you look at the market share of ST, we are taking above 40% of the market share, and we are by far leading this market over our competitors.”

Gallium Nitride

For Gallium Nitride (GaN) ST approach here is very strong. In Tours, France, we have built our production line and invested to create power discrete products and we already have a system-in-package.” He added.

ST can provide a rich variety of GaN products, including 650V GaN power transistors, and G-FET, G-HEMT, and G-driver series. Meanwhile, we have the MasterGaN series, which is the first GaN solution that integrates two GaN power transistors, drivers and logic control units within the industry. Moreover, we have the VIPerGaN series, which integrates a QR flyback converter and a 650V GaN power transistor. Furthermore, we have the G driver series, which can provide driver circuits for IGBT, SiC MOSFET and GaN. Therefore, we have a wide variety of GaN products.

ST also offers complete GaN solutions. ST have a 45W VIPerGaN-based USB PD adapter, the 65W ST-One and MasterGaN-based USB PD adapter, and a 200W AC/DC adapter. These GaN solutions can provide reference designs to our customers and speed up their R&D process. These GaN products can be used in different industrial and power supply fields. For example, while used in AC/DC adapters, GaN products can reduce their sizes and improve their efficiency. While used in fields like server power supplies and communication power supplies, GaN products can improve efficiency, and help customers better meet the efficiency requirements for 80+ Platinum and Titanium certification.

On concluding notes, he stated, “We have a very big ambition. We have joint labs. We have resources like hardware and firmware to support our customers. And we also have programs to educate and build know-how on two sides. One is that we develop know-how with the universities, and on the other side, we help our distribution channels and our customers to learn more about our products. So by introducing new products which are very advanced ones most of the time, we help them to understand and drive. We are widely distributed between all the sites – in India, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Mainland China, Korea, Japan, and wherever there are customers who need electronics because we want to power sustainable innovation.”