Another development GE expects to roll out imminently is to replace silicon with silicon carbide technology in all its power electronics products.
“It’s being introduced commercially gradually over this year and next year,” said Vlatkovic. “It took us 10 years to develop the technology, there’s still work going on, but now it’s mature enough that we’re starting to apply it – first, in aviation and medical industries, and finally now it’s starting to make sense in solar and wind.”
Vlatkovic said the advantage of silicon carbide over silicon was its ability to operate at higher temperatures with lower losses. “This will further increase the efficiency of the converters, reduce the losses by half, increase the power density by close to 50% and continue to drive the cost of the electricity down by 2, 3, 4% in both wind and solar,” explained Vlatkovic.
“So there’s a long runway for continued innovation to drive the cost down and the efficiency. It’s a very exciting time to be in this space, and we expect to continue to innovate,” he concluded.