Success Story

GaN Systems

(From left) Geoff Haynes, VP Business Development, Girvan Patterson, CEO, and John Roberts, CTO, all from GaN Systems, an Ottawa-based company making power conversion more efficient.

Every time energy travels from the grid to our homes and businesses there are substantial losses with current silicon based technology - at least five per cent at every step of conversion.

Ottawa-based GaN Systems makes power conversion semiconductors from gallium nitride (GaN) unlike traditional devices that rely on silicon. GaN has three properties of great value in power switching: temperature, voltage and current. By harnessing these capabilities, the company is able to generate unprecedented efficiencies over silicon, minimizing energy loss to one per cent.

In 2009, OCE supported a project between GaN Systems and Carleton University through its Interact program. Two years later, OCE’s CCR supported the company through its Commercialization program to help determine the commercial viability of the technology. Follow-on funding from SDTC, IRAP and two leading cleantech venture capital firms soon followed.

GaN’s semiconductors will have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and open the door to the production of more energy efficient, low cost and lighter weight products in the future. The company is working with a dozen partners globally and anticipates strong sales in Europe.

In 2008-09, GaN Systems was recognized by the Canadian Business Clean 15 Competition, Canada’s Top 10 Competition and was a CIX Top 20 finalist.

“CCR support was very timely and opportune because we’d finished three or four years of design and development and needed to run our first devices. Based on the success of those devices, we were able to raise our first venture capital round”

—Girvan Patterson, CEO, GaN Systems Inc.

Return on Innovation

  • Currently employs 14 staff
  • Plans to hire up to 220 employees in the next five years

OCE©2012 Last updated 10/2012