Arno's EnergyIdeas (6)
Do you want direct current or power direct?
We all know them; they seem so inconspicuous. There a many of them in every household of the "Western" world. Mostly, except for the imprint "Made in China", they carry nothing more than little green or red LED lamps which shine when network-connection is available. When in use, they get warm. They are black in most cases and have unattractive type designations such as: "Model ADP-90 AHP" with technical data such as: "Input: 100 - 240 V AC, 1.5 A, 50-60 Hz; Output: 19.5 V DC, 4.62 A".
We are talking about AC / DC adapters, used in all entertainment and communication technology equipment (Consumer Electronics). The price for these adapters is included when you buy the equipment. We know them as external chargers for batteries in laptops, cameras, navigation devices, game consoles, MP3 players and electronic weather stations. Monitors, flat screens, and printers do not work without them. But nobody talks about them.
The advantage: You don’t have to pay anything for these accessories – at least, at first sight. The manufacturing costs are included in the sales price of the equipment. The replacement is however quite expensive e.g. when you loose your cell phone charger.
(Picture: Arno A. Evers FAIR-PR)
The disadvantage: You do not think about them, because they simply "are there". It is not really of much interest how much AC these devices ultimately need to convert it into the DC. They work with a noteworthy poor efficiency.
The question is: Is this worldwide implementation of power conversion worth its price? For the utilities - certainly. For consumers, the next generation and the environment - rather not.
In every office, there are, depending on how you count, between 10 to 20 of such AC / DC adapters. In households with children you can easily count 20-50 pieces. All with only one function: To transform DC (Direct Current) from the existing AC electricity network of 60 Hz (US, Europe and Asia: 50 Hz).
The resulting conversion losses are captured no where and are not discussed; they are simply used as heat off.
In the year 2007, more than 1,1 billion mobile phones were sold - and ALL were equipped with an AC / DC adapter, the battery charger. That means there are 700 Mio of them! What to do? One could e.g. as a first step charge all his/her mobile phone(s) with a special solar charger and thus directly use solar energy at the window.
Using “home made” hydrogen with an integrated pFC System (Personal Fuel Cell) with a decentralized powered, DC-house distribution system (DC-bus) we did not talk about here today - that's another story. Or maybe not?
I am happy to start a dialogue on these and other "EnergyIdeas".
You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org