Gallium nitride (GaN) materials can create much more efficient devices for electric power conversion in devices from cell phone chargers to hybrid electric vehicles, leading to a $1.1 billion market for GaN discrete components in 2024. However, the substrate that the GaN device is built on - a wafer of silicon (Si), silicon carbide (SiC), or more GaN - makes a big difference in the cost and performance of the device. According to Lux Research, GaN-on-Si will dominate the GaN market for at least the next decade, growing to $1 billion in 2024, a 90% share.
"Of the three GaN flavors, GaN-on-Si will be the cheapest, pushing adoption of GaN-on-SiC or GaN-on-GaN out into the future," said Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, "Breaking Down the Gallium Nitride Power Electronics Market."
"Even though both GaN-on-SiC and GaN-on-GaN offer performance improvements over silicon, high prices for SiC and GaN substrates will limit adoption," she added.
Lux Research analysts evaluated the overall GaN market, besides evaluating the growth prospects of the three GaN flavors. Among their findings:
- Transportation and renewables/grid are key markets. GaN-on-Si will be the runaway leaders in the renewables and grid markets, as well as transportation, attaining markets of about $350 million and $380 million, respectively, in 2024. Next in will be IT and electronics.
- GaN-on-SiC will grow the fastest. GaN-on-SiC will grow at a 46% CAGR from 2017 to 2024, reaching $140 million. Driven by the SiC substrates' ability to function efficiently at high temperatures, it will gain the most adoption in transportation.
- GaN-on-GaN is a non-starter for now. The lack of cheaper GaN substrates and a relative lack of developers mean GaN-on-GaN will play little commercial role in the next decade. More R&D is needed on cost-saving innovations like hybrid manufacturing processes.
The report, titled "Breaking Down the Gallium Nitride Power Electronics Market," is part of the Lux Research Energy Electronics Intelligence service.