Power Supply Manufacturers and Device Energy Efficiency

Power Supply Manufacturers Definition of a Power Supply

A power supply is generally defined as any supply of electrical power in a form suitable for operating an electronic device. This electricity may be derived either from ‘mains’ power in the form of Alternating Current (AC), or from a battery or other type of circuit in the form of Direct Current (DC). AC power is usually converted to DC power through a transformer to service various household appliances such as computers and televisions.

With contemporary pressure regarding unnecessary energy expenditure and associated CO2 emissions, technology concerning power management is becoming increasingly significant. The power management subsystem of most electrical devices control, distribute and standardize energy throughout the item, with a key component of this system being the power supply.

Importance of Power Supply Manufacturers and Energy Efficiency

Power supply manufacturers produce many different types, sizes and mounting styles of items and they can be mounted internally or externally on a device, and consequently suited to countless different purposes. Most external power supplies are extremely energy inefficient ‘linear power supply’ devices, with many residential houses boasting at least 5 of these power supplies attached to various everyday electrical items.

Internal power supplies in comparison are normally more efficient ‘switch-mode power supplies’ and are utilized in devices that require amounts of energy higher than 15 watts, such as computers. This occurs due to the fact that ‘switch-mode power supplies’ theoretically allow for almost all of the input power to be delivered to the source device, in comparison to linear supplies that release wasted energy as heat.

Changes Made by Power Supply Manufacturers to Increase Energy Efficiency

Although internal ‘switch-mode’ power supplies are seen as being quite energy efficient, recent studies have shown that they are usually only about 50 – 90 percent energy efficient. Great variation amongst similar household electrical items has also been reported. External ‘linear’ power supplies in comparison have been shown to be 25 – 75 percent energy efficient. As 400 – 500 linear and switch-mode power supplies are sold annually in the United States alone, it is proposed by many experts that changes in power supply manufacture are urgently needed.

One researcher has proposed that changes in power supply manufacture could potentially increase energy efficiency by up to 20 percent, thereby saving approximately 32 billion kilowatts of energy annually. This energy saving was estimated, in 2002, to total 2.5 billion American dollars however, due to the rapidly increasing price of energy it is predicted that the saving would currently be even greater.