Samsung Electronics has spent the last few decades refining its charger technology to make the process as environmentally conscious as possible. The process includes prioritizing various power-saving technologies that reduce the use of potentially harmful substances in the manufacturing process.
The Galaxy smartphones’ chargers offer an energy efficiency rating of over 80 per cent, which meets the European Union’s standard for Level VI ErP (Energy-Related Products) certification.
Samsungs communications Business constantly explores ways to make the world a greener place. Let’s take a look at how the team is reimagining smartphone charging technology.
Tackling the standby issue
The Galaxy chargers have such capabilities as standby power capabilities considered to be a major contributor to the pressing problem of power waste. In an effort to address this issue, in 2012, Samsung successfully reduced the standby power consumption of its flagship Galaxy devices’ chargers to 20mW.
Engineer Wonseok Kang, a member of the Mobile Communications Business’s Power Solution Group, summed up both the purpose of the technology and the benefits it presents.
“In order to supply a smartphone with power as soon as it’s connected, a charger must always be ‘running. In the past, we simply kept the charger running without regulation. Now, we’ve packed software into the charger that puts it to sleep when a device is unplugged to reduce power consumption to an environmentally conscious voltage level. And wakes the charger up when a device is connected. It’s an energy-efficient cycle of sorts.”
Efficiency Is Everything
Like standby power consumption, charging efficiency is a key determinant of just how environmentally conscious a charging technology will be. Under perfect conditions, a charger would output 100 per cent of the power it receives, achieving 100-per cent energy efficiency.
Samsung’s developers went to great lengths to enhance the energy efficiency of its chargers, analyzing even the tiniest of components in an effort to maximize functionality. “We focused mainly on improving the circuits of the semiconductors that are used to convert energy,” said Kang. “In the end, we were able to reduce the cumulative electric charge by minimizing energy loss.”
The process of ensuring a consistent level of energy efficiency was challenging, to say the least. “As mobile devices evolve and battery capacities increase, charger specifications have to increase as well,” Kang explained. “From 15 watts to 25, to 45 and beyond, higher specifications require greater functionality. This inevitably leads to a decrease in average energy efficiency.”
Making Galaxy smartphone chargers environmentally conscious has paid dividends for the environment, resulting in approximately 13 million kilowatts (kW) of energy savings since 2014. That’s equivalent to the energy output of 4.5 hydroelectric power plants.
Save Plastic, Save the Planet
Samsung has committed to making its innovations more sustainable, which includes maximizing the number of recycled materials that are used to produce its smartphones’ chargers.
Galaxy smartphone chargers are produced, in part, using environmentally conscious post-consumer materials (PCM). Created by recycling the resources of previously owned products, PCM helps reduce the amount of potentially harmful substances that are created during the plastic production process. As of 2019, approximately 5,000 tons of PCM have been used to manufacture Galaxy smartphone chargers.
Samsung’s developers worked hard to ensure that adding PCM to charger designs wouldn’t compromise the overall quality of the final products. “Adding PCM can affect a product’s durability or performance,” said Ranveer Singh Rathore, a fellow engineer from Samsung’s Advanced CMF Lab.
The chargers directly receive electric currents, chargers are sensitive to heat, and must, therefore, be adequately flame retardant.