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50V GaN HEMT devices could save 10TWh

01 Nov 2012

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A new range of 50V GaN HEMT (High Electron Mobility Transistors) has just been introduced by Cree, Inc., which reduces the energy used to power cellular networks. Cellular networks worldwide consume over 100TWh of electricity per year (an estimated value of $12 billion), 50-80 per cent of which is used by feed infrastructure and the system's power amplifiers. Cree said that the 50V GaN HEMT devices can reduce radio base station power amplifier efficiency to more than 20 per cent at 2.6GHz under 4G LTE signals. This means that an estimated 10 TWh, a power output equivalent to two nuclear power plants, could be saved per year.

While operational cost savings from increased efficiency can be significant, additional substantial savings are also possible in the acquisition cost of the system. A higher efficiency power amplifier can help OEMs save capital equipment costs through simplified cooling, and the higher voltage GaN components can lower the cost of AC-to-DC and DC-to-DC converters. Overall, the impact on the total bill of materials can be as much as 10 per cent, leading to significantly lower system costs.

"We believe our 50V GaN HEMT products can have a large impact in not only helping cellular network operators and OEMs reduce operational and capital expenses but also in helping to reduce global energy consumption," explains Jim Milligan, business director, Cree RF. "Several tier one telecom OEMs have already incorporated lower voltage versions of our technology to begin realising these benefits. To date, even at an early stage of deployment, we estimate as much as 2,400 MWh of energy has already been saved as a result. This is an equivalent carbon offset of 1,400 metric tons of CO2 and represents the offset created by planting approximately 36,000 trees.

Cree's 50V GaN HEMT transistors operating at 100W or 200W output powers are now released for both the 1.8—2.2GHz and 2.5—2.7GHz frequency bands. The devices are internally matched for optimum performance, enabling wide instantaneous bandwidths. Cree 50V GaN HEMT transistors are ideal for use in high efficiency Doherty power amplifiers where power gains higher than 18dB at 2.14GHz and 16 dB at 2.6GHz can be achieved respectively.

The new Cree 50V GaN HEMT transistors are available in sample quantities now, with production quantities scheduled to be available in November, 2012.




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