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Global regulations on external power supplies

Posted: 31 Jul 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:external power supplies? power consumption? EISA 2007? CoC v5?

In order to determine if a power supply meets the new proposed power supply ratings, a set of international testing standards exist to determine the efficiency of the power supply. For a power supply with a maximum rating of 10W, for example, that power supply is said to have a Nameplate Output Power of 10W. The international testing standard states to measure input power and output power at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% loads and calculate the arithmetic average efficiency of those four points in order to determine whether or not the power supply meets the standard. Table 5 shows the actual efficiency requirements for the DoE and EU standards for four different power supply output power ratings.

Table 5: Minimum Efficiency and No-Load Requirements for Representative External Power Supplies as Regulated by Each Standard.

When you look at the results of the actual efficiency numbers by nameplate output power, the intention of the new rulemaking proposal is clear. The original efficiency standards established strict efficiency requirements for medium-high power applications (>50W). Lower power applications were allowed lower efficiency levels.

With the new proposals, efficiency targets at lighter loads are increasing in order to save energy on a broader scale. According to the Department of Energy, by increasing the efficiency requirements by the amounts shown in the new proposal, the cumulative emissions reduction from 2013 C 2042 is estimated to be 43 metric tons of CO2 and 35.5 metric tons of NOx. This is in the US alone. Similar reductions are expected in the EU with the new CoC v5 standard. This reduction in greenhouse gases results in a cumulative savings to the consumer of up to $2.7BN in just CO2 reduction alone.

Besides the reduction in greenhouse gases and their effect on the economy, the new proposal also reduces the amount of electricity that needs to be generated, and therefore also passes savings along to the consumer. By the year 2042, the annual electricity savings from the new standard and its impact on the external power supply market will be greater than 3TWh on average. When monetized, the combination of greenhouse gas reductions plus the simple energy savings by using more efficient electronics can save the consumers up to $7.5BN over a 30-year period (1).

The impact to the power supply community is also clear. The era of poor efficiency, low-cost solutions is over for the external power supply market.

The DoE, as part of their study for implementing the new standard, published a large study on the cost impact of the higher efficiency standards. According to this study, the manufacturing cost and resale price for these power supplies will increase significantly, but with the energy savings over time, the consumer will see a net benefit because of the reduced energy consumption in their home. The power supply manufacturers and power supply control IC manufacturers have the real challenge in making cost-effective power supply components that can meet both active-mode efficiency minimums while meeting the no-load power consumption mandates.

Power supply efficiency standards become stricter with each revision. International regulatory commissions strive to improve energy efficiency via strict mandates while giving the technology community time to adapt, taking into the consideration the limitations of the technology and the financial impact both to the manufacturers and the consumers. The power supply industry needs to adapt to these new standards and innovate with new technologies in order to stay ahead of the regulatory curve while keeping the cost within reach of the average consumer.


About the author
Scott Brown joined Dialogue Semiconductor when it acquired iWatt in July 2013. He joined iWatt in October 2011 with over 20 years of experience in the analogue semiconductor industry. Scott has broad experience in all forms of semiconductor marketing from hands-on tactical to high-level strategy and many years of experience in semiconductor business and functional management. Scott has extensive global experience and a deep knowledge of the Power Management market. Prior to iWatt Scott held marketing and management positions at National Semiconductor, Micrel, ON Semiconductor, Catalyst Semiconductor and Semtech. He holds a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Brunel University in the UK.

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