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 Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ITU members have agreed first-stage approval (consent) of a new Universal Power Adapter standard for devices such as modems, set-top boxes, home networking equipment and fixed telephones.

ITU-T Study Group 5 – Environment and climate change – consented the new draft Recommendation ITU-T L.1001 standardizing the requirements of “External universal power adapter (UPA) solutions for ICT equipment for stationary use”.

The standard will complement ITU’s very successful Universal Charging Solution for mobile devices (Recommendation ITU-T L.1000); enacting further energy savings, reductions in e-waste and heightened consumer convenience by expanding the concept’s application to the vast majority of ICT devices.

As with ITU-T L.1000, ITU-T L.1001 will also work to the benefit of countries not equipped with reliable AC grids as it will be compatible with standalone AC produced by renewable energy sources including the 5V and 12V power interfaces of small photovoltaic systems (solar energy).

Recommendation ITU-T L.1001 will reduce the number of power adapters manufactured by widening the range of compatible devices, facilitating their reuse and recycling, and increasing their build-quality and resilience to overvoltages in such a way that UPAs will enjoy a lifespan of no less than 10 years. By serving more ICT devices, over an increased lifespan, the standardized adapters will drive substantial reductions in energy consumption, limit device duplication, reduce strain on raw materials and enable enormous reductions in e-waste.

A study carried out by the University of Genoa, commissioned by ITU and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)  estimates that the widespread adoption of an energy-efficient UPA solution will eliminate an estimated 300,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.  In addition, the study shows it could reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of external power supplies by between 25 and 50 per cent. The report outlining the findings of the study is available here

The new standard includes basic configurations and general requirements of UPAs and their interfaces: cable; connectors; voltage; current; ripple; noise; energy efficiency; safety; electromagnetic compatibility; resistibility and eco-environmental specifications. The UPAs are designed for ICT devices in people’s homes, and provide a low-voltage input to a device by converting the AC mains voltage to a low-voltage DC output.
Future capabilities of the standard could include compatibility with a DC interface from renewable energy systems or power sockets found in transportation systems (boats, trains, planes, buses, etc.).

For more on the work of ITU-T Study Group 5, please see the group’s webpage here

More on ITU-T’s activities on ICTs, the environment and climate change here

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