The Vampire Energy Chronicle: Garlic Time

One thing about living in the IoT I never could stomach; all the damn vampires. Well, it’s time to start figuring out how to stop this vampire energy drain, or else the additional needs of the rapidly growing IoT is going to suck us all dry.

A recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report stated that $80 billion in electrical power is currently being wasted by M2M devices thanks to what’s known as “vampire power,” or lost energy drained when electronic devices are sitting in standby mode. The problem isn’t with the fact that the devices sit in standby most of the time, however. The trouble arises from how inefficient many of them are while in so-called low-power mode, which will become a serious drain on the power grid if improvements aren’t made, no matter how smart the grid gets.

Chip company Semitrex is addressing the vampire issue with a patented new technology that boasts a standby power level so low it’s more of a fruit bat than a blood sucker. The capacitor technology they’ve invented reaches the industry’s lowest standby power mode of half a milliwatt per hour.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) says the vampire load represents a $10 to $15 billion loss,” said Mike Freeman, CEO, Semitrex. “Forbes, meanwhile, recently wrote that the problem is about $80 billion worldwide.”

In part to deal with this problem, the DOE next year will issue Level Six energy efficiency standards, Freeman said, which will require that devices have a less than 49 Watts active load, be more than 80 percent efficient and drain less than 100 milliwatts on standby.

The problem, Freeman said, is that the current grid relies upon transformers and they use a large conversion ratio so each conversion results in a huge loss of free electrons. Instead, he’s developed a capacitor system that allows that energy to be captured at each of several smaller conversions. Then the captured energy can be used for reserves as batteries to power standby devices with very little waste.

This isn’t just for powering the IoT either, he said. “All of our power supplies are also communication devices so they can be controlled remotely,” he said. “This brings command and control functions down to the power supply level.”

And that’s a great way to kill some vampires. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino