3 Plug Loads Projects to Tackle Energy Consumption Vampires

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announces 3 energy-saving projects

The Daily Californian, April 14, 2016. Image credit: StockSnap

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced Wednesday the launch of three research projects aimed at increasing energy efficiency for a variety of electrical devices.

The new projects tackle the energy consumption of different types of “plug loads” — devices that plug into walls — which constitute at least 25 percent of electricity usage in California buildings, according to a Berkeley Lab press release.

One of the projects, led by campus researchers Alan Meier and Richard Brown, seeks to find methods to use information networks to generate usable power and lower energy losses.

One of these “twists” is finding ways that devices traditionally meant for transmitting information, such as USBs, can transmit power as well, according to Meier. If successful, Meier said, the project will provide a means of energy conservation and enhanced energy security, because the energy will be self-generated through information networks and stored in batteries.

Another energy efficiency project, led by campus researchers Evan Mills and Norman Bourassa, hopes to reduce the high energy consumption of gaming computers. Bourassa noted that the project is expected to last about two years.

The last project — set to take two years — focuses on “energy reporting,” which is “the principle that every device that uses electricity should be able to report on how much it uses to the local network, like a car odometer,” said Bruce Nordman, lead campus researcher for the project.

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