The Little Box Challenge is an open competition with a $1 million prize for the team who can build the smallest, highest power density kW-scale inverter – at least 50W per cubic inch. Size-wise, the goal for competitors is to shrink an inverter from the size of a picnic cooler down to something smaller than a laptop computer.
Succeeding in this challenge will be revolutionary, and ultimately enable the wider use of solar panels and batteries in homes, businesses and cars, more efficient distributed electrical grids, power in remote areas where there is none and other major innovations in power electronics across applications ranging from laptops, tables and phones through to wind turbines and data centre power supplies.
Instigators of the Little Box Challenge, IEEE and Google, felt wide bandgap semiconductors, including Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) which allow higher power densities, may be useful to contestants and invited device manufacturers to submit a linked webpage describing their technology. GaN Systems is one of eleven such manufacturers now listed and linked to the Little Box Challenge website.
“Our technology is made for this contest.” says Girvan Patterson, President of GaN Systems. “The power market has been preparing for higher density, higher efficiency and faster switching frequencies – we have not only brought the power of GaN to the market, we have enhanced its inherent qualities with our proprietary Island Technology die, our near chipscale GaNPX packaging and Drive Assist on-chip drivers that simplify circuit design. Together, our three core IPs reduce resistance, improve thermal performance and virtually eliminate inductance, to push GaN technology to its limits.”
John Roberts, Chief Technical Officer adds:”We are making our GS66508P product readily available to all Little Box contestants. This 34A, 41mΩ GaN E-MODE switch is ideal for the challenge – our products have a twenty times lower Figure of Merit, 1/8 the gate charge, 1/3 the on resistance, zero reverse recovery charge, better thermals, smaller packaging and lower inductance compared to silicon MOSFETs.
Pushing the limits of frequency to reduce the size of a solution still means managing the heat – and our GS66508P does that job. We are also offering plenty of support in the form of data sheets, PSPICE models, packaging information and a dedicated e-mail contact.”
The Little Box Challenge is currently in progress – teams have already registered to take part and have until July 22, 2015 to submit a technical approach and testing application. Up to eighteen finalists will be invited to bring their inverters for testing in October next year at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the winner will be announced in January 2016. For more information, visit https://www.littleboxchallenge.com/ and
Visit GaN Systems at www.gansystems.com