Reducing energy consumption has become a key issue to contain the continuing increases in energy tariffs caused by the war in Ukraine. Electronics can play a very important role in finding virtuous solutions aimed at energy efficiency. Technologies based on electronics can be used to optimize the performance of systems and devices and to reduce energy requirements in a wide range of applications.
By implementing control mechanisms, electronic technologies allow to increase efficiency. The correction of power factors in power supplies allows to reduce electricity consumption and recover the energy that is normally dissipated. When a power supply is efficient, it is able to best convert the input power by transforming it into the output power which is supplied to the devices. Conversely, an inefficient power supply sends less electrical energy to the components, losing some of it in the form of heat. It is estimated that if each power supply were to increase efficiency by even just 1%, approximately 93 terawatt hours of energy would be saved worldwide, equivalent to the production of 15 nuclear power plants.
The improvement of conversion efficiency through intelligent electronic solutions finds application in the inverters used in photovoltaic systems, in the driving of LED lamps and in the management of batteries in electric cars. The operation of the systems is improved through the execution of complex algorithms, including through the use of powerful 32-bit microcontrollers.
Energy harvesting technologies allow to power small electronic systems by exploiting various marginal forms of energy that are present in the environment, such as sunlight, the temperature difference between the engine and the surrounding environment or between two materials, kinetic energy developed by the motion of the human body. This energy can be captured for immediate use or stored. It is thus possible to create electronic components capable of self-powered starting from these minimum energies, of managing them by accumulating them through supercapacitors, converting them into various voltages. The energies that can be recovered in harvesting mode are very small and discontinuous in nature but can become an ideal power source for a large number of IoT devices.
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