IGBTs minimise conversion losses in power conditioners

10th March 2016
Nat Bowers

Renesas Electronics has expanded its 8th gen G8H series of IGBTs that minimise conversion losses in power conditioners for solar power generation systems and reduce inverter applications in UPS systems. Six new product versions have been released, rated at: 650V/40, 50 & 75A; and 1,250V/25, 40 and 75A.

Renesas has also achieved the industry’s first TO-247 plus package for a 1,250V IGBT with built-in diode, which offers system manufacturers greater circuit configuration flexibility.

Drawing on its expertise in designing low-loss IGBTs in the power converter field, Renesas Electronics optimised the 8th gen IGBTs, adopting an exclusive trench gate configuration in the process structure. Compared to previous IGBT generations, these devices provide faster switching performance, an essential feature to the IGBT performance index, while also reducing conduction loss by lowering the saturation voltage. Additionally, the performance index for the 8th gen devices has been improved by up to 30% compared to previous-gen IGBTs, contributing to lower power loss and better overall performance for user systems. These updates are essential for key markets in the power industry focusing on PV inverters, UPS, industrial motor drives and PFC.

In solar power generation systems, there is inevitably some amount of power loss when the DC generated from sunlight by solar panels converts to AC by passing through an inverter circuit. Since the majority of this power loss occurs within the power devices used, reducing IGBT power loss has a direct positive effect on the power generation performance of user systems. Similarly, for UPS systems in server rooms and data centres, power must constantly pass through a power converter circuit to monitor if the power supply has been interrupted, meaning that a steady power loss arises whenever the system is operating. IGBT performance is key to reducing this power loss.

Previously, devices in the 75A current band were generally incorporated into modules employing large packages due to considerations such as heat, noise, and operating quality. With the 8th gen IGBT technology that achieves low loss and smaller chip size, Renesas realises a 1,250V IGBT with built-in diode in a discrete TO-247 plus package as first in the industry. By using discrete-package devices in the 75A current band rated at 100°C, system manufacturers can enjoy the increased circuit configuration flexibility that only discrete devices provide and can easily increase the power capacity of their systems.

The underside of the TO-247 package is formed from metal, allowing heat generated by IGBT power loss to be conveyed directly to the package exterior for superior heat dissipation performance. The devices are compatible with high temperatures up to +175°C, so they can be used in locations that tend to heat up due to the transmission of large power levels. This helps to improve the performance and reliability of user systems.

The fast switching performance of the 8th gen G8H series devices can be put to good use even in applications other than inverter circuits, providing excellent performance for step-up circuits in converters, for example.

Samples of the 8th gen IGBTs are available now. System manufacturers can select the product version that best matches the inverter circuit type and required output capacity. Mass production is scheduled to begin in September 2016 and is expected to reach a volume of 600,000 units per month by March 2017.

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