[A Greener Galaxy] ① Smartphone Chargers That Put the Planet First
Today’s mobile devices may come in all shapes and sizes, but they share one crucial thing in common: they all need to charge.
Yes, as powerful as they’ve become, most mobile devices still require charging every day. To help prevent this daily ritual from becoming a drain on the planet, Samsung Electronics has spent the last few decades refining its charger technology to make the process as environmentally conscious as possible. This not only includes prioritizing various power-saving technologies, but also reducing the use of potentially harmful substances in the manufacturing process.
Under the belief that small adjustments to our daily routines add up to big benefits for the environment, Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Communications Business constantly explores ways to make the world a greener place. Let’s take a look at how the team is reimagining smartphone charging technology.
Engineers Pranveer Singh Rathore (left) and Wonseok Kang, from Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business
Tackling the Standby Issue
While many may think that once plugged-in electronics and appliances are switched off, they instantly stop consuming power, in truth, they simply enter standby mode so they can spring back to action as soon as they’re switched back on.
The same goes for our mobile devices’ chargers. Once you disconnect your device, your charger will continue to consume a considerable amount of electricity unless you unplug it from its outlet or shut down your power strip.
Standby power consumption is considered to be a major contributor to the pressing problem of power waste. In an effort to address this issue, in 2012, Samsung successfully reduced the standby power consumption of its flagship Galaxy devices’ chargers to 20mW. 1 In the years since, the company has applied this environmentally conscious enhancement to the chargers of devices throughout its product range. 2
Engineer Wonseok Kang, a member of the Mobile Communications Business’s Power Solution Group, summed up both the purpose of the technology and the benefits it presents.
“In order to supply a smartphone with power as soon as it’s connected, a charger must always be ‘running,’” said Kang. “In the past, we simply kept the charger running without regulation. Now, we’ve packed software into the charger that puts it to sleep when a device is unplugged – reducing power consumption to a more environmentally conscious voltage level – and wakes the charger up when a device is connected. It’s an energy-efficient cycle of sorts.”
Efficiency Is Everything
Like standby power consumption, charging efficiency is a key determinant of just how environmentally conscious a charging technology will be. Under perfect conditions, a charger would output 100 percent of the...