Integrated Silicon Carbide Facility In Italy By STMicroelectronics 

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European semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics plans to build a new high-volume 200mm silicon carbide manufacturing facility in Catania, Italy.

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, announced a new silicon carbide (SiC) production plant in Catania, Italy last week. This high-volume 200 mm plant will support power devices and modules and testing and packaging under the same roof. 

The facility is a 5 billion euro multi-year investment megaproject that includes 2 billion euros of support from the State of Italy in the framework of the EU Chips Act. It aims to assist automotive and industrial clients transitioning to electric power and greater energy efficiency. It fulfills the company’s goal of having one site for mass-producing SiC in a fully integrated way.

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STMicroelectronics has revealed this project as the ‘world’s first fully vertically integrated’ SiC facility. The SiC substrate manufacturing facility is being built on the same site. The multiple facilities will make up ST’s Silicon Carbide Campus. This campus will bring together all stages of production. This includes developing SiC substrates, growing epitaxial layers, fabricating 200mm wafers, assembling modules, conducting R&D on processes, designing products, running advanced labs for dies, power systems, and modules, and providing full packaging services. 

The company has described the project as an innovative endeavor in Europe to produce 200mm SiC wafers in large quantities, utilising 200mm technologies at each stage of the process. The stages include substrate, epitaxy & front-end, and back-end. This process will enhance yields and performance.

Production is planned to begin in 2026 and reach full capacity by 2033, producing up to 15,000 wafers per week when fully operational. Additionally, the company has focused on sustainable methods in the Silicon Carbide Campus design, development, and operation, essential to responsibly managing resources like water and power.

According to Jean-Marc Chery, the President and CEO, STMicroelectronics, “The scale and synergies offered by this project will enable us to better innovate with high-volume manufacturing capacity, to the benefit of our European and global customers as they transition to electrification and seek more energy efficient solutions to meet their decarbonization goals.”

Silicon Carbide (SiC) offers advantages over regular silicon due to its properties such as better heat transfer and faster switching. SiC power devices, like SiC MOSFETs and modules, are beneficial in electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, and industries like data centers, providing higher electric currents and lower energy loss. However, SiC chips are harder and costlier to manufacture than silicon chips, posing challenges in the production process.

STMicroelectronics has been in SiC business for the last 25 years. By leveraging an existing network in power electronics: a partnership with the University of Catania, the CNR (Italian National Research Council), and a wide supplier base, this investment aims to enhance Catania’s position as a leading hub for SiC technology globally.  

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