A Cardiff University venture that unites academic knowhow with industrial expertise is set to contribute to the delivery of UK government plans for an ‘electric revolution.’
The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC), a joint venture with advanced materials global leader IQE, is a winner in a £36.7m round of challenge projects designed to push the UK to net zero carbon growth by 2050.
Around £30 million will be used to create four cutting-edge Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) centres of excellence in Newport, Nottingham, Strathclyde and Sunderland – bringing together climate change pioneers to research and develop green electric machines including planes, ships and cars.
The DER Centre for South Wales & South West will be coordinated by the Compound Semiconductor Application Catapult (CSAC) Innovation Centre in Newport.
The CSC project will focus on ensuring advanced semiconductor materials and components – an essential building block for the next generation of electrification technologies – can reach the final buyer in a supply chain more quickly and efficiently.
Professor Rudolf Allemann, Cardiff University Pro Vice-Chancellor International and Student Recruitment, Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, welcomed the win.
“Cardiff University has long established strength in depth across Compound Semiconductor research, and a close working relationship with IQE that spans nearly four decades. We are building a new Home of Innovation featuring a Translational Research Facility that will turn CS knowhow into real-world products and processes that will complement the work of the Newport centre of excellence and the CS Connected cluster in years to come.”
Dr Wyn Meredith, Director of CSC, said the award would allow CS Connected to gather further momentum.
Speaking at a Wales In London event hosted by the IET, Dr Meredith said CS chips are regularly developed in South Wales before being shipped to lower cost economies for packaging, and then shipped back to the UK for use in end products.
“This award will help CSC play its role in CS Connected – offering a comprehensive foundry model through a single point of entry. Our aim is to provide a full technology readiness space incorporating partners from both academia and industry to develop products from concept to production without outsourcing at any stage, bringing benefits to the Wales and UK economies.”
Further winning consortia with links to both CSC and Cardiff include Cogent Power, which will work with Compound Semiconductor Centre, Microsemi Semiconductor and Advanced Hall Sensors, and Paragraf of Cambridge, who will work with CSAC, Rolls-Royce, Semelab and Aero Stanrew. Yasa (Oxford), API Capacitors (Great Yarmouth) and Integral Powertrain Limited are also joining projects with CSAC.
Business Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “The UK is leading the way in developing cleaner technologies to help us reach our target of zero emissions by 2050 and these new centres will play an important part in that. The £30 million industrialisation centres will provide a home for virtual product development, digital manufacturing and advanced assembly techniques, that could drive world-leading improvements in the testing and manufacturing of electric machines.”