Texas Instruments

2012 Corporate Citizenship Report


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Energy and infrastructure applications

Smart grid | Sensors | Electric transportation

TI is passionate about solving global energy problems, which have been at the core of the company's innovations since the 1930s. Current worldwide attention to energy efficiency provides us with a great opportunity to shape energy technology design, reduce power consumption, and boost product longevity.

Smart energy technologies make renewable energy more cost-effective and efficient, which is why we are developing products that improve the performance of uncommon energy sources – wind, solar, vibration and even body heat. This will reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels and promote the use of alternative, efficient resources.

Our ultimate goal is to reduce energy consumption while increasing energy output, making technology more powerful yet more efficient. These efforts will lead to new business opportunities for TI, particularly as global markets take action on climate change and demand energy-reduction measures.

Smart grid

More efficient and reliable power infrastructure is needed to support the world's increasing demand for energy. This demand also creates some unwanted challenges:
  • In India alone, up to 60 percent of the power generated is lost before it ever reaches the consumer.
  • Utilities cannot always identify how energy is being used and where power outages exist.
  • Outdated power infrastructures are overtaxed as energy consumption increases.
To address these challenges, utility providers are fine-tuning and deploying smart grids globally. This market is expected to grow from 130 million in 2011 to 1.5 billion by 2020. These intelligent electrical systems are clean, efficient, reliable, resilient and responsive – and offer considerable societal and environmental benefits.

TI is the global systems provider for innovative, secure, economical solutions for the worldwide smart grid. Our Smart Grid team is unique in that it uses devices from various product groups across the company and assembles industry-leading system solutions for smart electrical meters (e-meters), power line communications and wireless network processors.

We also collaborate with regional and global standards-setting bodies to ensure consistent and universal adoption of smart grids worldwide.

The intelligence our technologies provide helps utilities reduce costs and power consumption, and improve how energy demand is monitored and managed. Smart e-meters are the first step to making smart grids more efficient, as they connect to multiple power devices and networks, and communicate consumption data back to a utility or homeowner.

Utilities are beginning to replace antiquated electrical meters with smart technology, which can curtail energy use by 5 to 15 percent. It also allows them to adjust (with permission) thermostats; appliance usage; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) settings in homes and businesses to avoid rolling blackouts or having to charge peak rates.

Our company also develops power line communication technology. This added functionality, which can also take the form of wireless connectivity, allows real-time monitoring of smart grids and reduces their operating costs, and relieves strain on the grid.

Additionally, our technologies support smart devices that are connected to the smart grid. They can wirelessly measure, communicate and control power consumption. With increasing use of such technologies, we expect homes and buildings will soon be able to generate, use and store much of the energy they require to operate. This will help greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Sensors

TI semiconductor devices working in sensors are creating a new era of ecological, environmental and biological insight by enabling operators, scientists and researchers to monitor and analyze:
  • Highway conditions so traffic-control infrastructure can be adjusted, thus reducing the chance of accidents.
  • Industrial equipment to promote energy savings and notify managers when equipment is becoming faulty.
  • Soil conditions to help farmers save water and use only the amount and type of fertilizer that they need.
  • Gases and liquids to alert oil and natural-gas drillers of unwanted conditions.
  • Energy use to help manage smart grids.
  • The movement of bridges to alert managers of dangerous stresses.
  • Carbon dioxide levels in dense metropolitan areas to help reroute traffic and reduce unhealthy conditions.
  • Critical environmental information about the atmosphere and oceans to mitigate climate change.
  • Touch, light and voice to identify the context and environmental conditions of consumer electronics.
  • Motion to provide accuracy and resolution of global positioning systems and stability for robots.
  • Wind conditions to help wind farms operate more efficiently.
  • Chemical contaminants to improve potable water quality.
In the future, wireless networks embedded with our power-efficient technologies will continue to play a major role in monitoring and improving the condition and performance of factories, vehicles, homes, buildings, consumer devices, data centers and human bodies.

Electric transportation

Given today's growing environmental sensitivities, long-term fuel supply and cost concerns, TI is at the forefront of helping the electric transportation industry optimize their systems to be more efficient.

In Europe, government regulators have imposed emission limits for carbon dioxide and other gases on car manufacturers, which led to the introduction of more hybrid and electric transportation alternatives. TI developed a battery-management system for hybrid electric cars that optimizes stored energy so people can drive longer distances and maintain battery performance.

Additionally, global interest in light electric vehicles, including bicycles and scooters, is growing. In China, for example, electric bicycle sales eclipsed sales of any other form of transportation, with 25 million e-bikes purchased in 2012 alone. In Holland, the first electric freeway specially built for commuters riding electric bikes and scooters will open next year.

Our motor-control and battery-management systems ensure that light electric vehicles are energy-efficient and dependable. For example, our technologies help:
  • Electric power steering systems eliminate traditional hoses and pumps, which improves overall fuel economy by an average of 5 percent.
  • Integrated starter alternators cut fuel consumption and lower emissions by 30 percent – and start vehicles noiselessly.
  • Tire-pressure gauges warn of improper tire pressure that can diminish fuel efficiency.
With energy for charging electric transportation expected to come from renewable sources, such as wind-, solar- or water-powered plants, TI is helping to bring safer, affordable and more efficient electric transportation solutions to this market. We also provide technologies that efficiently power home and public charging stations, including stations that harvest power from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.