Unlocking Lasting Transformative Resiliency Advances by Faster Actuation of power Semiconductor Technologies
The Unlocking Lasting Transformative Resiliency Advances by Faster Actuation of power Semiconductor Technologies (ULTRAFAST) program seeks to develop and demonstrate next-generation ultra-fast power semiconductors for advanced system-level power electronics converters that would bring significant improvements in reliability, resiliency, and control of the power grid. Specifically, ULTRAFAST projects will create faster-switching higher-rated device and power module technologies that enable realization of transformative power management, protection, and control not only for the grid, but also for future green autonomous power distribution systems such as those for electric vehicles, all-electric aviation, and more.
Our electric grid faces a variety of challenges, including aging infrastructure, an increased frequency of severe weather events, and emerging cyber and physical threats —ultimately resulting in power disruptions that cost the U.S. over $150 billion each year. These power disruptions produce major health and economic impacts for Americans, who experienced an average of seven hours in disruptions in 2021 alone. Along with the need to update our aging energy infrastructure, the demand for electricity is rapidly increasing as the U.S. strives to achieve Net Zero Emissions (NZE) by 2050. In order to achieve decarbonization goals, electrification of everything from transportation to industrial processes to urban infrastructure is needed, meaning that our power systems must grow 60% by 2030 and more than three-fold by 2050 to keep up with the demand. The ULTRAFAST program seeks to provide power electronics technology innovations that will enable a more secure and reliable grid, while also allowing it to meet higher demands for electricity in pursuit of decarbonization goals.
This program supports ARPA-E mission goals to improve resilience, reliability, and security of energy infrastructure; improve energy efficiency; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduce reliance on imports; and maintain U.S. leadership in energy technologies.
ULTRAFAST projects will enable a more protected and controlled grid, directly enhancing the overall resiliency, reliability, and security of the electric energy infrastructure, while drastically reducing U.S. reliance on imported energy.
ULTRAFAST projects will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions through enabling the electrification of everything from transportation to industrial processes to urban infrastructure, playing a significant role in decarbonization efforts.
In addition to creating U.S. jobs, ULTRAFAST projects will allow for the eventual lowered cost of electric energy.