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Feds announce $544 million loan for production of silicon carbide wafers at Michigan plant

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 22, 2024
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 22, 2024 04:01

The U.S. Department of Energy announced a conditional $544 million loan Thursday that would allow a Michigan semiconductor manufacturing plant to expand to make parts that can bring faster charging times for electric vehicles.

The conditional loan for SK Siltron CSS LLC would create up to 200 construction jobs during the expansion of the company's Bay City plant and 200 skilled manufacturing jobs once the site reaches full production of high-quality silicon carbide wafers, the Department of Energy said.

The federal agency said there is an inadequate supply of such wafers, which can bring faster charging times and longer ranges for electric vehicles compared with traditional silicon semiconductors.

If finalized, the project financed by the DOE's Loan Programs Office will help SK Siltron "leverage its two existing Michigan manufacturing plants to address this market gap," the agency said in a news release.

The company expanded production in Bay City in 2022.

The DOE said SK Siltron's Auburn, Michigan, facility conducted much of the research and development for the wafer manufacturing process.

The company's expanded Bay City plant will use technology developed at the Auburn site to create the high-quality silicon carbide wafers. It's expected to become one of the world's top five makers of high-quality silicon carbide wafers, according to the agency.

SK Siltron must first satisfy technical, legal, environmental and financial conditions before the DOE enters into definitive financing documents and funds the loan.

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