Ideal Power’s power module enables solid-state circuit breakers

Ideal Power launched its first commercial product, the SymCool™ Power Module. This multi-die B-TRAN™ module, rated at 1200V 100A and incorporating double-sided cooling, is designed to meet the very low conduction loss needs of the solid-state circuit breaker (SSCB) market.

Modules can be paralleled to achieve a wide range of high power SSCB ratings for utility, industrial and military applications.

The SymCool™ Power Module was designed specifically to enable SSCBs to deliver very low conduction losses. B-TRAN™-enabled SSCBs are expected to be smaller and more efficient than SSCBs using traditional semiconductor switches while operating orders of magnitude faster than conventional electromechanical breakers.

The SymCool™ Power Module is well-suited for the large, growing circuit breaker market, with the market projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 6% to approximately $26 billion by 2027. With clear advantages over electromechanical, IGBT and MOSFET-based breakers, the B-TRAN™ enabled SSCBs are ideal for a range of utility, military and industrial power control applications.

Energy Savings

Circuit breakers continuously conduct current, so it is critical to keep conduction losses to a minimum. The SymCool™ Power Module exhibits dramatically lower conduction losses compared to IGBTs, thereby allowing for energy savings that are necessary as power grids are modernized.

In particular, integration of renewable energy sources and energy storage systems into the grid will require circuit breakers that do not waste the precious energy generated by solar or wind. The low conduction losses of the SymCool™ Power Module meet this requirement.

Bidirectional: Fewer Switches Needed

The SymCool™ Power Module utilizes Ideal Power’s groundbreaking innovation of a dual-sided semiconductor with inherent bidirectional capability. Existing power semiconductors, such as IGBTs, are single-sided and operate as unidirectional switches.

The SymCool™ Power Module takes the bidirectional concept, validated in the Ideal Power B-TRAN™ single-chip package, to a higher-current capability using multiple B-TRAN™ chips configured in parallel. The result is a product that will finally enable the SSCB market.

In addition to saving energy, the inherent bidirectional capability of the SymCool™ Power Module means that half as many high-voltage switches are needed compared to implementation with IGBT modules, which need a dedicated switch for each direction of energy flow. Fewer components translate to a smaller, more cost efficient SSCB.

As new applications, such as Vehicle-to-Grid, Vehicle-to-Home, and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2X) emerge with the adoption of electric vehicles, bidirectional functionality is needed. Renewable energy microgrids and key military applications also require bidirectional circuit breakers that operate quickly, and the bidirectional SymCool™ Power Module offers clear advantages for SSCBs in these applications.

Advanced Packaging

Another benefit realized by the dual-sided structure of B-TRAN™ is the advanced module packaging developed to maximize thermal efficiency. The SymCool™ Power Module has innovative dual-sided cooling with built-in temperature sensing. Heat is dissipated from both the top and bottom surface without wire bonding to meet the ever-increasing demand for reliability, durability and efficiency. This allows for a smaller, lower cost thermal management system, and greater overall efficiency of the SSCB.

The SymCool™ Power Module offers a compelling solution to SSCB applications with its combination of greater efficiency, bidirectional capability, and advanced dual-sided cooling package. This will enable a new generation of very fast acting SSCB designs, while simultaneously saving energy, allowing more compact equipment, and saving overall system cost.

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