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Alternative to Silicon Could Save Tens of Billions in Energy Costs

Keith Kohl

Written By Keith Kohl

Posted June 22, 2015

About 10% of the energy consumed in the U.S. is not actually used. It’s lost in transition from power outlet to electric device. That’s about $40 billion annually in extra energy costs for energy no one is even using!


Transphorm Inc, a growing startup, is developing a silicon alternative that will make the energy transition smoother, and reduce the energy loss up to 90%.

The new semiconductors are made of gallium nitride (GaN) and can be made into power converters for devices and solar panels for electric vehicles. It can also handle higher voltages than silicon and is able to switch from alternating to direct currents much faster.

And while gallium nitrate cells are more expensive to make than silicon ones, they pay off in the amount of energy saved. And Transphorm is improving upon the design. They recently introduced transistor models that are $0.36-$0.38 less than similar silicon models.

The technology is still in its early stages of development however, as the company is working on individual transistors to begin with rather than placing billions of them at once. But they have the money and support to keep moving forward. Since 2007, the startup company has raised $190 million for its projects from investors such as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG).

And with big names like Panasonic (OTC: PCRFY) also looking into gallium nitrate cells, it’s only a matter of time before this silicon alternative is ready for the market at large!

To continue reading…

Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article. (May require a subscription to read in full.)

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