Green Plug’s thoughts on universal power for consumer electronics

October 22, 2008
US-China Green Energy Conference ‘08: Fueling the Future

UCGEC We’re proud to announce that Green Plug CEO, Frank Paniagua, Jr., will be speaking at the US-China Green Energy Conference in Beijing, on November 16-18, 2008.

The US-China Green Energy Council (UCGEC) brings together leading clean energy specialists from business, government, and academia from both the U.S. and China. The San Francisco Bay Area, Beijing, and Shanghai are rapidly becoming the global centers for clean energy technology promotion, development, and investment, and there are enormous gains to be achieved through enhanced collaboration between the regions.

On Tuesday, November 18th, Frank will be joined by the following esteemed Green IT panelists:

Fei Zonglian, Chief Engineer (Former), Ministry of Machinery & Electronics Industries, China
Jian-Yue Pan, Corporate Vice President, Synopsys
Jack Shu, Vice President, HP
David Sung, President, Greater China,VMware
Doug Oathout, Director of Energy Efficiency Offerings, IBM
The mission of this conference is to kick-start long-term collaboration between clean energy policymakers, researchers, businesspersons, and investors in the two countries.

It also:

represents the first time that leaders in four communities – business, technology, academia, and government policy – from both China and the United States will come together to discuss energy issues of mutual interest.

Interestingly, China was the first country to regulate a standard for cell phone chargers (PDF). In 2007 China passed a law that stated that if a company wanted to sell a cell phone in China it had to be equipped with a charger with a USB interface.

October 13, 2008
What a Waste: Billions of External Power Supplies Sitting in Landfills

Seattle artist and former corporate lawyer Chris Jordan has taken it upon himself to create art in images that make it easy to visualize and understand the aftermath of our consumer culture. Chris recently spoke here in San Francisco.

I wish I had the chance to thank him personally for taking this photograph at a dump in Atlanta. To me, it is the most powerful way to convey the wastefulness of the current method of powering consumer electronics. You can read more about his recent exhibit in San Francisco and see more of Chris’ work, here.

The numbers are staggering: according to Gartner, this year 3.2 billion external power supplies will be manufactured worldwide. Meanwhile, approximately two billion of them will go into landfill. As our CEO Frank Paniagua pointed out, 379 million external power supplies will go in landfills in 2008 in the U.S. alone. As the number of cell phones, iPods, laptops and other consumer electronic products that are manufactured each year continues to grow, older models (and their external power supplies) will become obsolete, be discarded, and continue to threaten the future of our planet.

Continue reading “What a Waste: Billions of External Power Supplies Sitting in Landfills” »

October 08, 2008
The Power Model is Broken! And We Need To Fix It.

Cords For years, I’ve wanted a better solution to having to carry four or five power adapters and battery chargers with me when I travel. And, to the cluttered tangle of black bricks and power cords in my home office.

My personal breaking point was over two years ago, when my wife and I traveled to a good friend’s wedding in Chicago. We found ourselves having to repack our bags to accommodate the nine chargers we needed to bring with us. When we arrived at the hotel, I was forced to start moving beds and coffee tables in our room just to find places to plug everything in. Even then, there weren’t enough outlets.

I remember thinking to myself: “This is crazy! We do not have to do this. The power model is broken. And we have to fix it.”

In addition to the terrible inconvenience in our lives, that unsightly tangle of wires, black bricks and wall warts which supply power to your laptop, printer, cordless phone, cell phone, toys, cordless power tools, and so many other electronic products, typifies a problem that plagues consumer society. Multiply what’s at your feet by millions: a staggering 379 million discarded and obsolete external power supplies are destined to end up in U.S. landfills this year alone.

Our planet needs a single, universal power architecture for electronic devices. Such a standard could prevent hundreds of millions of power supplies every year from being tossed into landfills – maximizing resources, minimizing solid waste, and conserving energy.

This was the genesis for starting Green Plug.

The way our technology works is pretty straightforward: Green Plug provides the enabling technology that makes any electronic product capable of getting power from any power supply. We sell chips to manufacturers that allow them to make intelligent multiport chargers that can provide a wide range of power from cell phones to laptops. At the same time we supply, for free, software that goes on the product for the client side. This way, the chip recognizes that device and says, “Hi! You’re a Blackberry: you need 5 volts.” And gives it to it. When the device no longer needs power, the power supply shuts off, saving energy.

In addition to providing information, and sharing our knowledge and experiences, we started this blog to start a conversation. We want you – people like us who are sick and tired of the inconvenience of having multiple external power supplies, and who have great concern about the future of our planet – to voice their desire for manufacturers to Green Plug-enable their consumer electronic devices.

We have some exciting plans in motion to allow you to voice your opinion, and help us send a positive, yet strong message to consumer electronic manufacturers. This will soon be unfolded, but for now I’ll hand over the reigns to Seth Socolow, our Vice President of Corporate Marketing. Seth is passionate about leveraging the power of the web to fix this broken power model for electronic devices, and will be the main voice for this blog.

Thank you for listening, and I look forward to achieving the goal of One Plug, One Planet – together.

Frank Paniagua, Jr. is CEO and founder of Green Plug. His bio may be found here.