The Global SiC Wafer Market was valued at USD 937.2 million in 2021, and it is expected to reach USD 3,719.2 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 15.3% during the period of 2022-2027. Silicon carbide (SiC) is used for high-power applications, owing to the wide bandgap offered by it. High-performance power ICs are often based on SiC substrates. SiC can tolerate high temperatures than silicon or gallium nitride (GaN) and improve electrical device performance.
Key Highlights Silicon carbide (SiC) wafer and compound semiconductor technology is emerging as the critical enabler in lighter, smaller, and more energy-efficient power systems of the future. Growth has historically resulted from the adoption of SiC diodes and, recently, MOSFETS in renewable energy applications. The growth is set to increase exponentially as the technology has been adopted across global initiatives for more electric transportation, including automotive, commercial aviation, and rail.
The demand for shorter charging times and longer driving ranges for electric vehicles (EVs) has accelerated the push of automotive companies toward high-voltage EV platforms, with various significant companies releasing models featuring 800 V charging architectures, such as the Audi Q6 e-Tron, Porsche Taycan, and Hyundai Ioniq. Owing to the rising penetration rate of EVs, the demand for silicon carbide (SiC) wafers in the global automotive market is expected to increase.
There has been a growing interest in SiC power semiconductors, with many countries announcing to limit the sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles. As part of these efforts, companies operating in the market studied have been increasing their investments to set up new manufacturing facilities.
For instance, SK Siltron planned to carry out a large-scale investment within five years and to expand SiC-related facilities to meet the increasing demand for SiC-based power semiconductors used in fifth-generation telecommunications devices and electric cars.
SiC wafer fabrication is a considerably delicate process. Not all wafers are suitable for final solutions, such as MOSFETs and diodes. However, there are still several challenges associated with the manufacturing of SiC wafers. Some difficulties that the industry has been facing in growing larger silicon wafers include the limited number of suppliers as well as the purity and defect density of the basic material and manufacturing process.
The COVID -19 pandemic affected the overall semiconductor manufacturing market from the demand and supply sides. In addition, the global lockdowns and closure of semiconductor plants further fueled the supply shortage. The effects were also reflected in the SiC wafer market. However, many of these effects are likely to be short-term. Precautions by governments across the globe to support automotive and semiconductor sectors could help revive industry growth.
Key Market Trends
Telecom and Communication to Drive the Market Growth
Technology is evolving at a rapid speed. In order to meet this technological requirement, there is expected to undoubtedly be a great demand for SiC wafers in the electronic industry. In order to stay ahead of the competition, the semiconductor industry is developing and maintaining cutting-edge technology.
Telecommunication companies are rushing to build ultra-fast 5G networks, causing demand for power semiconductors to skyrocket. SiC wafers have a high degree of hardness, heat resistance, and the ability to withstand high voltages. Wafers are extensively used to make power semiconductors for electric vehicles and 5G networks, where energy efficiency is crucial due to their features.
Semiconductor companies and consumers from across the world are eagerly anticipating the things that 5G technology will make possible. The 5G adoption is expected to offer a lot of potential, including speed, ultra-low latency, and reliability.
With the advent of the 5G technology, semiconductor companies can create value in a platform with embedded silicon, incorporate additional features in integrated circuits, and monetize data.
For instance, in March 2020, SK Siltron completed its acquisition of DuPont’s SiC Wafer Division in the United States. The telecommunication companies are aggressively constructing ultra-fast 5G networks, driving up the demand for power semiconductors.
As telecommunication firms construct ultra-fast 5G networks, the demand for power semiconductors steadily increases. High hardness, heat resistance, and the ability to sustain high voltages are all characteristics of SiC wafers. Because of these properties, wafers are commonly used to manufacture power semiconductors for electric vehicles and 5G networks, where energy efficiency is critical.
North America is Expected to Hold the Largest Market Share
The North American region is the early adopter of new technology in manufacturing, design, and research in the semiconductor industry. The growth in the SiC wafer market in North America strongly correlates with the development of end-user industries, such as automotive, energy, IT and telecommunications, military and aerospace, and consumer electronics.
Silicon carbide technology has the potential to revolutionize the energy market, thus driving regional players to invest in product innovation. For instance, in July 2020, ON Semiconductor introduced a complete SiC power module for solar inverter applications, selected by the provider of power and thermal management solutions, Delta, to support its M70A three-phase PV string inverter portfolio.
In this region, various organizations, including government entities, are also engaged in advanced manufacturing research for SiC wafer manufacturing. For instance, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) advanced manufacturing researchers partnered with industry and academia to improve the materials and processes used for manufacturing silicon carbide (SiC) wafers.
Global market players are also increasingly preferring to invest in this region to set up new manufacturing infrastructure. For instance, in September 2021, SK Siltron CSS LLC, a United States-based subsidiary of Korean conglomerate SK Group, announced its plans to invest nearly USD 303 million to expand SiC wafer production in Michigan.
GaN on Silicon Carbide is a compelling technology; thus, players focus on product innovation and launching new products. For instance, in August 2020, MACOM Technology Solutions Inc announced at the virtual International Microwave Symposium (IMS) the introduction of its new Gallium Nitride on Silicon Carbide (GaN-on-SiC) power amplifier product line, which it is branding MACOM PURE CARBIDE. The company also announced introducing the first two new products in the product line, the MAPC-A1000 and the MAPC-A1100.
The SiC Wafer market is quite competitive. In terms of market share, only a few players dominate the current market, due to which the market is quite consolidated. However, players’ upcoming technologies and the innovations carried out are the reason behind the significant growth in the SiC wafers market. The market is even witnessing multiple mergers and partnerships so that the companies expand their geographical presence.
November 2021 - Aehr Test Systems, a global supplier of semiconductor test and reliability qualification equipment, announced that it joined the PowerAmerica Institute, a public-private research initiative aimed to accelerate the adoption of high-performing, next-generation silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics. The collaboration intended to bring next-generation silicon carbide power electronics to markets faster, with reduced cost and associated risk factors.
July 2021 - Showa Denko Materials Co. announced that it will increase the production capacity for semiconductor materials at its subsidiary in Taiwan to meet the strong demand for its products. The subsidiary, Showa Denko Semiconductor Materials (Taiwan) Co., will boost its production capacity for chemical mechanical planarization, or CMP, slurry, a polishing material for semiconductor devices, and prepreg, one of the main materials used in the multilayer printed circuit boards.
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