The global demand for electricity is increasing and governments are struggling with supplying more electricity while minimizing the pollution, greenhouse gasses and other environmental impacts associated with energy production.

Luckily, there is increasing investment in clean and renewable energy sources – wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal – to meet the growing demand for electricity.

However, generating power in more sensible, environmentally friendly and sustainable ways is only part of the solution – we must also become more efficient in how we use energy.

Where is all the energy going?

A typical incandescent light bulb uses 60W of electricity. By using intelligent control techniques and new technologies like LEDs, we can reduce the energy required to 6-8W, 10 times less power for the same amount of light. Lighting consumes approximately 19% of all electricity used worldwide, so the potential reduction is dramatic. If we consider motor drives, which account for nearly 50% of all the electricity used globally, the opportunity to decrease consumption is huge.

Washing machines, air conditioners and other appliances are responsible for 9% of total motor drive energy consumption, with the industrial motors in pumps, fans, process lines, etc., using over 90%, mainly due to higher power requirements (kW compared to MW).

Currently most motor drives run at fixed frequency speeds. Like the incandescent light bulb, if we employ intelligent solutions and new technologies, such as variable speed drive systems, we can significantly reduce power consumption.

By using pulse width modulation to create a pseudo signal, power consumption can be reduced by up to 30%. For example, the total electrical energy generated worldwide in 2014 was over 23,000 TWh, 11,500 of which was consumed by fixed-speed motor drives. By changing to variable speed motors, the energy usage can be reduced by as much as 30% – which equates to 3,450 TWh – equivalent to approximately 6,900 average-sized (500 MW) power plants.

Our vision for increasing efficiency

Improving motor drive efficiency is a key element in Fairchild’s vision to create a sustainable future. Our broad, high-voltage power portfolio leads the industry in motor drive, energy control, lighting and power supply implementation, enabling our customers to produce products with excellent performance and superior efficiency.

Fairchild’s broad portfolio of industry-leading IGBTs have been specifically created for targeted applications. Rugged IGBTs with short-circuit capability have been optimized for motor drive applications, while extremely fast switching IGBTs have been created for applications such as solar, where power density is the key consideration. Our latest Field Stop 4 IGBTs have been designed specifically for higher switching frequencies utilizing its unique cellular design. Most importantly, this fourth generation technology offers best-in-class performance.

We also offer an extensive portfolio of Motion SPM® Smart Power Modules for consumer and industrial motion control. These integrate power switches, gate drivers and protection circuits, up to 1200V. Our expanding product portfolio—combined with manufacturing process enhancements, innovative topologies, and systems expertise—allows circuit designers to develop the most advanced solutions to meet energy-efficiency targets.

Our Silicon Carbide (SiC) devices offer superior performance characteristics over silicon, such as incurring no additional losses during elevated temperatures and having no reverse recovery compared to silicon PN diodes, which significantly reduces switching losses and enables the highest switching speeds possible. Complementing the inherent performance advantages of SiC, our diodes have best-in-class reliability thanks to advanced manufacturing processes that eliminate the wafer defects that so often impact competitive SiC diodes.

Our newest MOSFET innovation is SuperFET III – the highest performance Super Junction MOSFETs – specifically designed for highest power density. SuperFET III technology reduces RDSON up to 50% in the same package size compared to our previous industry-leading technology. This ultimately allows product designers to reduce the package size or increase the power in the same footprint.

Fairchild is a key player in both the drive towards renewable energy generation and, in particular, the more efficient use of energy. Our high voltage semiconductor solutions enable manufacturers to develop new generations of far more energy efficient appliances and industrial equipment, so the world no longer wastes precious electricity powering old and inefficient washing machines, air conditioners, lights, pumps, and the like. The next dishwasher you buy – or design – brings us all one step closer to an energy-efficient world.

Visit fairchildsemi.com/highvoltage for more details on the entire portfolio, including data sheets, samples, reference designs, and evaluation boards.

 

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