22 June, 2023

Airbus and STMicroelectronics collaborate on power electronics for aircraft electrification

R&D collaboration on advanced power semiconductors, which are a key enabler of the aerospace industry’s transition to hybrid and full-electric systems.

These semiconductors will play a significant role in powering future hybrid helicopters, aircraft, the ZEROe roadmap, as well as the City Airbus NextGen.

Airbus, a global pioneer in the aerospace industry, and  STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, have signed an agreement to cooperate on power electronics Research & Development to support more efficient and lighter power electronics,  essential for future hybrid-powered aircraft and full-electric urban air vehicles. 

The collaboration builds on evaluations already conducted by both companies to explore the benefits of wide bandgap semiconductor materials for aircraft electrification. Wide bandgap semiconductors like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) have superior electrical properties compared with traditional semiconductors like silicon. They enable the development of smaller, lighter and more efficient high-performance electronic devices and systems,  particularly in applications requiring high power, high frequency, or high-temperature operations. 

The cooperation will focus on developing SiC and GaN devices, packages, and modules adapted for Airbus’ aerospace applications. The companies will assess these components by conducting advanced research and tests on demonstrators, such as e-motor control units,  high and low voltage power converters, and wireless power transfer systems. 

“This collaboration with STMicroelectronics, a global leader in power semiconductors and wide bandgap technologies, will be key to support Airbus’ electrification roadmap,” said Sabine  Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer. “Leveraging their expertise and experience in power  electronics for automotive and industrial applications with our own record in aircraft and VTOL  electrification will help us accelerate the development of the disruptive technologies required  for the ZEROe roadmap and CityAirbus NextGen.” 

“STMicroelectronics is the market leader at the cutting edge of the development of innovative power semiconductors with higher-efficiency products and solutions based on advanced materials, such as Silicon Carbide and Gallium Nitride. We already have a strong,  transformational presence in mobility and industrial applications, reinforced by a vertically integrated global SiC supply chain, to support our customers globally with electrification and decarbonisation,” said Jerome Roux, President, Sales & Marketing, STMicroelectronics.  “Aerospace is a highly demanding market with specific requirements. Cooperating with Airbus,  a global leader in this industry, gives us the opportunity to define together new power  technologies the industry needs to realise its decarbonisation goals.”