Power electronics used to convert and manage electricity in devices ranging from mobile phones to pumps and motors – are projected to grow to a market worth $23-billion for discrete components in 2024, up from $13-billion, according to Boston-based Lux Research.
Silicon-based devices will remain the main technology of choice, but silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) will be the fastest-growing, gaining a combined 13% share in 2024.
“As power demands in applications from consumer electronics to the power grid get more demanding, silicon is running up against physical limits, offering opportunities for both SiC and GaN,” says Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research analyst.
“GaN is a direct threat to silicon, as it can replace silicon in many applications, while SiC transistors can actually create additional new opportunities for silicon in high-voltage applications that will use SiC and silicon components together,” she adds.
Lux Research evaluated the $23-billion market for discrete power electronics, assessing market drivers and diverse technologies. Among their findings:
Tablet computers fuel growth. Consumer electronics and IT will account for 48% of the market in 2024, or about $11-billion. Consumer electronics make up most of this segment, expanding from $7-billion in 2014 to $10-billion in 2024, driven by growth of low-power tablet computers as well as ongoing popularity of mobile phones.
Transportation drives both SiC and GaN. The transportation market, worth nearly $1.2-billion in 2024, will be the big driver for both SiC and GaN. Transportation uses will account for 65% of the total market for SiC and 41% of the total market for GaN.
SiC adoption limited by price; GaN by availability. Notwithstanding their high growth rates, SiC and GaN remain a small total share of the market. For SiC, high costs will make SiC transistors less viable in many applications, while GaN’s adoption will be held back by delayed product roll-outs and capacity expansions.