Concept images: GreenPlug
You've probably heard it so many times now that you're sick of it: "Unplug any electronic device with a 'wall wart' when you're not using it. Power down your computer at night instead of just putting it to sleep. Don't leave battery charges, cell phone chargers and the like plugged in if you're not actually charging something. Et cetera. Et cetera." You are doing those things, right?
That said, Green Plug has another way which, provided the electronics industry is keen on adopting it, could take reducing vampire power to a whole new level. And in the process not only reduce the number of power adapters you may need to own, but also cut down on e-waste.
379 Million External Power Supplies End Up in US Landfills Annually
E-Waste first: The scale of the e-waste problem, simply from external power supplies which are no longer used, is staggering. In 2008, some 737 million power supplies for electronic devices will be shipped to the US. At the same time 434 million will disposed of as people upgrade to the latest and greatest or after a product breaks. Only 12.6% of these get recycled, leaving the rest to be disposed of in landfills, according to Green Plug's figures.
Vampire Power Isn't Just Wasteful of Resources, it Costs Money
This is truly an area where the little things do add up. According to the US Department of Energy, a desktop computer consumes about 310 kWh of electricity annually when in standby, a cordless phone about 30 kWh, and a plasma TV a whopping 1450 kWh. That plasma TV could cost you an additional $160 a year in electricity alone.
While individually those may not seem like much—and as David MacKay has pointed out there are bigger energy suckers in our everyday lives—overall US citizens spend a total of $3 billion a year powering devices they aren't even using.
Drawings of Green Plug's high-power universal USB connector and concept power hub.
Green Plug to the Rescue
Green Plug's solution to this is to standardize power connectors and power adapters and to license its Greentalk Universal Power Protocol to electronics manufacturers.
What the consumer would end up with is a central DC conversion hub with a number of connectors to plug your electronic devices into. Green Plug has also developed a high-powered version of the common USB cable to allow charging of high-power devices, which current USB cables can't handle. Plug your compatible devices into the hub and it takes care of the rest to maximize the efficiency of the charging. When the hub is in standby mode it simply powers itself down.
Don't go recycling all your old external power supplies. You can't yet buy any products with Green Plug technology in it, though the company is currently offering design kits to manufacturers to integrate into their designs. Green Plug says that you should be seeing its technology in new products sometime in 2009.
More at :: Green Plug
via :: World Changing
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