City patent could "radically reduce" energy waste

Clever clogs at City University London have patented an electrical adaptor that aims to cut out on power waste from mobile technology like phones and laptops.

The charger, says City, would be able to “radically reduce” energy and dosh wasted when chargers are left plugged into the walls but not being used. It claims this is responsible for one percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

City quotes a report that lands the UK as the top of the energy wasting table in Europe, and goes on to say that a huge 65 percent of mobile phone owners leave their chargers juiced up at the mains at least once a week. Currently the redundant adaptors on the market, says Professor Sanowar Khan, use power anyway: “With around 70 million handsets in the country, conservative estimates suggest that six gigawatt-hours of energy – equivalent to six large power stations working for one hour each – is wasted in this way every year.”

Manufacturers are being sought to build the patent and make it as standard. It uses a micro switch which can be embedded into any connector between the charger and a device, preventing electricity from flowing when the device isn’t connected. City reckons that as well as the obvious green angle, it’ll provide a safety advantage because wires don’t remain live, which can be dangerous in case of dodgy insulation or a flood.

“While there have been industry and regulatory initiatives in the past to introduce standards for more energy efficient chargers, it is our aspiration to reduce wasted power to zero, helping the environment and enabling consumers to cut their technology bills,” said Khan.