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Gallium Price ($US/KG)
25 April 2024 : Price $798.40 
1 January 2024: Price $755.80

Source: (https://strategicmetalsinvest.com/gallium-prices/)

We start this weekend’s missive with a summary from around the grounds. We have saved the best till the last. European research house Yole Group provides market research, technology and strategy analysis reverse engineering and costing, and photonics module performance evaluation, focused on the semiconductor industry and related fields. We show some relevant slides from their most recent megatrends webinar.

Samsung

Samsung Electronics has continued to expand its workforce in power semiconductor development within its Device Solutions (DS) division this year. This expansion is in response to the growing power consumption driven by the AI boom in the server semiconductor market, increased demand for chips related to this sector, and potential growth in markets for electric vehicles and PCs.  “ Our goal is to design and produce power chips that support high performance and energy efficiency for AI data centers and electric vehicles.”

Power semiconductors are crucial components in electronic devices such as smartphones and home appliances, as well as in data centers and electric vehicles, where they manage power conversion, current distribution, and control. Next-generation power semiconductors made from compound materials like gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) have recently gained prominence. These materials are noted for surpassing the performance limits of traditional silicon (Si) materials.

The demand for power semiconductors is poised to surge with the expansion of AI data centers. Some industry experts expect a supercycle—a period marked by initial rapid growthKim Dong-won, Managing Director at KB Securities, said, “By 2026, global data center power consumption is expected to double, and power supply challenges will become more acute. The United States, which hosts one-third of the world’s 8,000 data centers, is already facing power shortages starting this year.”

He added, “The global power shortage stems from AI data centers, semiconductors, secondary battery manufacturing, electric vehicles, and electric heat pumps (HVAC) all requiring substantial electricity. Companies producing power equipment—such as transformers, wires, and copper—are currently negotiating orders for 2027-2030 with customers, and we expect the power equipment supercycle to last longer than previous cycles.”

Japanese automotive semiconductor company Renesas has significantly expanded its power semiconductor facilities in response to market demands. Local media reports indicate that Renesas has reopened its Yamanashi-ken Kofu plant, closed in October 2014 after a nine-and-a-half-year hiatus.
Although originally focused on producing power semiconductors for PCs, the plant will now be repurposed as a power management integrated circuits (PMIC) production base. With this investment, Renesas plans to double its production of power semiconductors next year.     

(https://www.chosun.com/english/industry-en/2024/04/24/73V5WU34DFFWBJLCU7EUWKXBRQ/)

Navitas

Navitas Semiconductor, the industry leader in next-generation GaNFast™ gallium nitride (GaN) and GeneSiC™ silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors, participated in a China Electronic Hotspot Solutions Innovation Summit in Shenzhen on April 27th. Attendees included key players in power semiconductors and associated customer design teams for innovations in EV such as 800 V supercharging, battery management, intelligent connected vehicle electronics, and high-power digital power supplies.

Scotia Mining Scoop

The Mining Sales and Trading team at Scotia highlights the following chart from the Visual Capitalist. We at G50 have seen this one before and it appears to be recirculating as the rhetoric between US and China ramps up again on protecting their respective corners on the way to building the infrastructure for the green economy. A reminder that G50’s Golconda project has a significant gallium discovery as announced in July, 2023.

The U.S. is heavily reliant on nonfuel mineral imports causing potential vulnerabilities in the nation’s supply chains.  Specifically, the U.S. is 100% reliant on imports for at least 12 key minerals deemed critical by the government, with China being the primary import source for many of these along with many other critical minerals. 

Sprott

Sprott teamed up with the Visual Capitalist for what we believe could be the cleanest and most succinct sales pitch for copper over the coming decades. We at G50 also argue that the copper demand growth presented here by grid demand will require new efficiencies in incumbent and new power consumption. The widening gap between the demand and supply of power will support GaN and other power semiconductors in the green transition.

Yole Group

Last week Yole hosted a webinar: Unveiling the future: the megatrends shaping the compound semiconductor industry. There was a huge focus on gallium nitride and gallium arsenide. Below we include only a handful of the 50+ slide presentation with a focus on the Power GaN market. The growth rates and brand names associated with these markets surprised us the most. There was a significant discussion on GaN and its outlook for use in the Telecom infrastructure market and Photonics which we do not include below. We suggest you head to their website as a great resource for understanding the compound semiconductor industry.  

Yolegroup.com