Airbus and STMicroelectronics to develop electronics for future aircraft


Airbus has signed off on a deal with semiconductor specialist, STMicroelectronics to develop lighter power electronics required for hybrid and fully-electric aircraft. 

The deal builds on some tests already conducted by the companies to explore the benefits of wide bandgap semiconductor materials for aircraft electrification. Wide bandgap semiconductors like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) have superior electrical properties compared with traditional semiconductors like silicon, according to STMicroelectronics.

“This collaboration with STMicroelectronics, a global leader in power semiconductors and wide bandgap technologies, will be key to support Airbus’ electrification roadmap,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus CTO. “Leveraging their expertise and experience in power electronics for automotive and industrial applications with our own record in aircraft and VTOL electrification will help us accelerate the development of the disruptive technologies required for the ZEROe roadmap and CityAirbus NextGen.” 

The agreement focuses on developing SiC and GaN devices, packages and modules ready to be integrated into Airbus’ applications. The firms will assess these components by conducting advanced research and tests on demonstrators, such as e-motor control units, high and low voltage power converters, and wireless power transfer systems, they said.

Jerome Roux, president, Sales & Marketing, STMicroelectronics, said: “STMicroelectronics is the market leader at the cutting edge of the development of innovative  power semiconductors with higher-efficiency products and solutions based on advanced materials, such as Silicon Carbide and Gallium Nitride. We already have a strong, transformational presence in mobility and industrial applications, reinforced by a vertically integrated global SiC supply chain, to support our customers globally with electrification and decarbonisation.

“Aerospace is a highly demanding market with specific requirements. Cooperating with Airbus, a global leader in this industry, gives us the opportunity to define together new power  technologies the industry needs to realise its decarbonisation goals,” Roux added.