Published March 8, 2005 12:00 AM

Energy-Efficient Phone Adapter Scoops EPA Design Award

WASHINGTON — A San Jose circuit maker has been named Grand Champion in the category of Efficiency Challenge 2004, an international design competition for power supply efficiency. The contest, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Energy Commission, showcases highly efficient power supply technologies for consumer electronics.

The award went to Power Integrations, Inc., a major supplier of high-voltage analog integrated circuits used in power conversion.

The winning design, an energy-efficient adapter for a cordless telephone, was judged the top entry in the "market ready" category of the competition, in which practical factors such as cost and packaging were considered in addition to energy efficiency. The design utilizes Power Integrations' LinkSwitch family of integrated circuits, which are ideally suited for use in low-power applications such as cordless phones, cell phones, consumer appliances and many industrial applications.

The winning design will enable manufacturers to comply with the recently launched Energy Star specification for cordless phones, as well as the mandatory standards recently placed on external adapters by the California Energy Commission. Complete documentation on the winning design, including application notes, engineering reports and data sheets, can be found on the Reference Designs page of the Power Integrations Web site.

Balu Balakrishnan, president and CEO of Power Integrations, accepted the award at the Applied Power Electronics Conference in Austin, Texas. "It is particularly significant that the winning design is for the cordless phone market, where inefficient linear transformers are still the predominant power supply technology," he said. This award validates the fact that a cost-effective, efficient alternative to these 'energy vampires' is available and ready for market."

According to Ecos Consulting, portable telephones are one of the biggest opportunities for external power supply savings in the U.S. market.

"Average efficiency levels for conventional products in this category usually range between 30% and 55%," said Chris Calwell, research and policy director for Ecos Consulting and an Efficiency Challenge judge. "For the Power Integrations team to achieve an average efficiency of 69% is quite remarkable. If all U.S. phones had a power supply as efficient as this model, the nation could save 1.5 billion kWh per year. This would prevent the release of a million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and save consumers one hundred million dollars on their utility bills. We congratulate Power Integrations for its exemplary power supply design."

In 1999, Power Integrations won the Discover Award for Technological Innovation for the environmental benefits of its energy-saving TinySwitch family of integrated circuits, the first of the company's products to incorporate EcoSmart technology.


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