ITU universal power adapter will cut tech waste
Standardized power supplies enable further gains in
Geneva, 25 October 2012 – ITU members have agreed first-stage approval
(consent) of a new Universal Power Adapter (UPA) technical standard for devices
such as modems, set-top boxes, home networking equipment and fixed telephones.
The standard will complement ITU’s very successful Universal Charging
Solution for mobile devices (Recommendation
ITU-T L.1000), enabling further energy savings, reductions in e-waste and
enhanced consumer convenience by expanding the concept’s application to the vast
majority of ICT devices.
ITU-T Study Group 5 – Environment and climate change – agreed the new draft
Recommendation ITU-T L.1001 standardizing the requirements of ‘External
universal power adapter (UPA) solutions for ICT equipment for stationary use’ at
a recent meeting led by ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.
As with ITU-T L.1000, ITU-T L.1001 will also benefit countries not equipped
with reliable AC power 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).
Globally, Recommendation ITU-T L.1001 will reduce the number of power
adapters that need to be manufactured by widening the range of compatible
devices, facilitating adapter reuse and recycling, and increasing build-quality
and resilience to overvoltages. Designed to promote an adapter lifespan of at
least ten years, the new ITU standard will drive substantial reductions in
energy consumption used in information and communication technology (ICT)
equipment manufacture, limit device duplication, reduce strain on raw materials
and enable enormous reductions in e-waste.
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “Our global standard for
phone chargers received a very warm welcome from vendors and consumers, and
I am certain that this new universal power adapter standard will enjoy the same
worldwide success. These important environmentally-oriented standards will
markedly reduce e-waste and greenhouse gas emissions, while saving money for
vendors and consumers through more efficient use of raw materials and energy.”
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 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 could include compatibility with a DC interface from
renewable energy systems or power sockets found in transportation systems
(boats, trains, planes, buses, etc.).
Learn more about the work of
ITU-T Study Group
5, and find out what ITU’s Standardization Bureau is doing in the area of
ICTs, the environment and
For more information, please contact:
Senior Communication Officer, ITU
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU