The future of the UK's electric revolution is soon to be realised, providing that Boris Johnson’s pledge of achieving targets by 2030 are achieved.
For Wales however, as committed and enthusiastic as the country is to achieve this target, such as the introduction of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015, Wales seemingly still has much room for improvement.
The Senedd has reported that cities such as Cardiff require 40,000 vehicle charging points by 2030 (on the assumption that 9 out of 10 vehicles will be electric by 2025). Needless to say, this will be a behemoth challenge with Cardiff only having around 100 vehicle charging points as of 2021.
Despite the steep challenges, the solution to this problem may come from South Wales’ own successful semi-conductor cluster, of which Business News Wales has been reporting on regularly. Evidently, the public confidence in this cluster has been proven thanks to a new £4.8 million fund from the UK Government and UKRI that has been awarded to Swansea University in their power-electronics research.
This fund is part of the ‘Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge’ from Innovate UK, which was launched in 2019. The fund will contribute towards cutting-edge equipment that will manufacture power semiconductor devices with silicon carbide (SiC), a much more efficient hybrid variant of the normal silicon that the industry has been accustomed to.
We spoke to Mike Jennings, an Associate Professor at Swansea University, to hear about how these new innovations in silicon-carbide based power semi-conductors is going to enable Swansea University to help the country accelerate its transformation to all-electric and reduce the potential barriers in reaching the 2030 target as a result of this fund.
Mr Jennings said:
“What we can do with silicon-carbide is replace [the traditional] silicon technologies and make power-electronics [that are] much more compact, smaller and lighter (which is obviously very good for transport), and [raise] the efficiency levels to over 95%.”
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Wales is in a prime position to be a global leader in power-electronics. […] We have the skills here, we have the industry here.”
You can listen to Mike Jennings speak in further detail in our audio interview below: