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U.S. Department of Energy awards Ithaca firm $3.2 million grant

By Eric Reinhardt


ITHACA — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Monolith Semiconductor, Inc. of Ithaca $3.2 million in funding to develop a next-generation power-conversion technology.

The award is among 14 projects for which the DOE announced $27 million in funding from its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the agency said in a news release.

The project, including the one that Monolith Semiconductor is working on, could “dramatically” transform how power is controlled and converted throughout the grid, ARPA-E said.

The projects, selected under ARPA-E’s SWITCHES program, aim to find “innovative” ways to lower the cost and improve the efficiency of power electronics, the agency said.

SWITCHES is short for “Strategies for Wide-Bandgap, Inexpensive Transistors for Controlling High-Efficiency Systems,” ARPA-E said.

In modern-energy infrastructure, power electronics are based on “decades-old” technology and rely on “expensive, bulky, and failure-prone” components, the agency said.

To address these “critical inefficiencies,” SWITCHES pursues lower-cost possibilities, according to ARPA-E.

Authorized in 2007 and first funded in 2009, ARPA-E invests in “high-potential, high-impact” energy technologies that are “too early” for private-sector investment, the agency said.

Monolith Semiconductor’s website lists its leadership team as including Sujit Banerjee, CEO; Kevin Matocha, president; Larry Rowland, chief strategy officer; and Kiran Chatty, vice president of product development.

Chatty’s biographical information also indicates he co-founded Monolith in 2013, the website says.


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