Silicon carbide and gallium nitride, two leading wide band gap semiconductors with significant potential in electric vehicle power electronics, are examined from a life cycle energy perspective and compared with incumbent silicon in U.S. light-duty electric vehicle fleet. Cradle-to-gate, silicon carbide is estimated to require more than twice the energy as silicon. However, the magnitude of vehicle use phase fuel savings potential is comparatively several orders of magnitude higher than the marginal increase in cradle-to-gate energy. Gallium nitride cradle-to-gate energy requirements are estimated to be similar to silicon, with use phase savings potential similar to or exceeding that of silicon carbide. Potential energy reductions in the United States vehicle fleet are examined through several scenarios that consider the market adoption potential of electric vehicles themselves, as well as the market adoption potential of wide band gap semiconductors in electric vehicles. For the 2015-2050 time frame, cumulative energy savings associated with the deployment of wide band gap semiconductors are estimated to range from 2-20 billion GJ depending on market adoption dynamics. (Figure Presented).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry