NYS-GE-CNSE Power Electronics Consortium

Jul 15, 2014

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was at General Electric in Niskayuna today to announce an energy initiative to commercialize new technology that will have major implications for the electronics market.

Credit Governor Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo announced that the state will partner with more than 100 private companies, led by GE, to launch the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium. Officials say it will invest more than $500 million and create thousands of high-skilled, high-paying jobs in upstate New York over the next five years – including at least 500 in the Capital Region – focusing on the development and manufacture of the next generation of materials used on semiconductors.

The governor likened the initiative to "nano on steroids." It starts locally.    "Geographically it will be made in a number of places. Today, we're talking about Albany and the Capital District region in the nanotech center."

College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering CEO Alain Kalyeros says the first installation will be at the continually expanding Washington Avenue campus.   "Rehabbing one of the clean rooms. About 15,000 feet of clean room space. And GE will be the anchor tenant. With CNSE in that space. And obviously, as the governor described, it will be the magnet for the other hundred corporations to locate their researchers and cluster around it in the region."

The site will act as a global “open-innovation” user-shared facility.

Credit General Electric

Danielle Merfeld is the technology director for semi-conductor technologies and systems at GE Global. She says the focus is to reduce the cost of silicon carbide technology, which is being primed to replace today's silicon-based technology.  She expects power electronics will significantly impact machines of all kinds.      "Jet engines, automobiles, things that move, that have big power requirements. Silicon carbide has a lot of benefits in terms of temperature, packaging, ability to withstand higher power density so that everything can shrink, become more efficient, you don't need as much cooling because it doesn't generate as much heat in losses. So all of our power electronics become smaller, lighter, more capable. So anything that makes power, transfers power, whether its a wind turbine or an automobile or a jet engine, they all become smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient."

The consortium is enabled by the START-UP NY tax free initiative, in addition to $135 million in state funds provided to CNSE: it is expected to attract $365 million in private funds and know-how to support personnel, equipment and process flow, tool installation, facilities and materials for a total five-year investment of $500 million.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos also attended the announcement.