HexaTech, an 11-year-old venture capital backed firm focused on semiconductor technology, has won a $2.2 million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy to help fund development of new semiconductors that the company says could “modernize our electrical power grid.”

The Energy Department’s Advanced research Projects Agency made the award, citing HexaTech’s chip technology based on aluminum nitride as opposed to standard silicon carbide chips.

“This contract marks the beginning of a technological leap in device performance and efficiency for power semiconductors,” said Baxter Moody, director of engineering for HexaTech.

The new chips will enable power grid devices to be smaller, lighter and run cooler, the company says, noting “power semiconductor devices at this level are currently not available on the market.”

HexaTech recently raised S500,000 in new debt financing.

Six investors participated in the funding, according to an SEC filing

The firm is focused on development of chips made from aluminum nitride substrates. It raised $3.1 million in new capital last year.

HexaTech utilizes technology developed at North Carolina State University.

Financial backers of HexaTech include Durham-based Intersouth Partners.

In 2007, HexaTech won a $2 million grant from the federal government.

HexaTech landed $8.9 million in Series A funding in late 2005 from Intersouth and other investors. The company launched in 2001.