Smart grids | LED lighting | Vibration sensors | Power management |
Electronics energy conservation | Electric motor efficiency | Solar energy
We are skilled and passionate about solving global energy problems. Energy has been at the core of TI’s innovation since the 1930s. Current worldwide attention to energy efficiency provides TI with a great opportunity to shape energy technology design, reduce power consumption and boost product longevity.
Smart energy technologies help make renewable energy more cost-effective and efficient, which is why TI is harnessing often untapped energy sources – wind, solar, vibration and even body heat – to reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and promote the use of alternative, smarter sources.
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 changes and demand energy-reduction measures.
Global energy demand is estimated to double by 2050, which calls for a more efficient and reliable power infrastructure. This demand also creates some unwanted challenges:
Smart grids, enabled by TI technology, can reduce costs, save energy, and improve how energy demand is monitored and managed. They also allow utilities and homeowners to monitor real-time energy use, which can curtail energy use by 5 to 15 percent.
- In India alone, up to 60 percent of the power generated falls off the grid before it ever reaches the home.
- Utilities cannot always identify how energy is being used and where power outages exist.
- Outdated power infrastructures are being overtaxed as energy consumption increases.
Smart electrical meters are the first step to making smart grids more efficient. These can connect to multiple power devices and networks, and communicate consumption data back to a utility or homeowner.
Utilities are beginning to replace electrical meters with this technology. Smart electrical meters allow them to adjust (with permission) thermostats, appliance usage and HVAC settings in homes and businesses to avoid rolling brownouts or having to charge peak rates. Homeowners also will have the ability to use a smartphone or computer to adjust their thermostats when away from home.
One component of the communication for smart grids is power line communication (PLC) technology, which TI develops. This added intelligence, which can also take the form of wireless connectivity, allows real-time monitoring, reduces costs and operating power, and relieves strain on the grid.
TI collaborates with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other standards-setting bodies to develop and design standards that can drive consistent and universal adoption of smart grids worldwide.
With 20 percent of the world's energy consumed by lighting – and more than 10 billion lights purchased each year – energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are critical to reducing the world's energy use.
Made with semiconductors, LEDs are extremely energy-efficient, durable, controllable and long-lasting. Because most of the world will be illuminated with LEDs in the coming years as they become more cost-effective, TI's LED Lighting division is poised to unveil new technologies that will enable and accelerate mass-market adoption.
This team is also making progress with innovative, intelligent lighting systems, including color control to better shape the spectrum of light, which will revolutionize how light is used. The appropriate lighting, for example, can help plant life supply vitamins and minerals and even help people recover from burns, jetlag or seasonal affective disorder much faster.
TI is helping automate sensor technology to make our roads safer. For example, by fastening a special group of sensors to a bridge, which can be powered by the vibrations caused by the cars crossing over it, the bridge could be easily monitored for potential structural problems. Our CC430 battery-free sensors run off solar power, human body heat or vibrations.
Power-management devices and digital power technologies improve the reliability of power supplies, letting our customers design systems where more energy from the power source is supplied to the product or device. These savings result in reduced cooling requirements, extended life spans, improved reliability through failure prediction, and more precise performance.
TI provides various power-management design templates to make it easier and faster for customers to take energy-efficient product designs to market. We continue to expand our power management portfolio through acquisitions and the application of state-of-the-art analog manufacturing process technology.
Electronics energy conservation
Approximately 5 percent of the electricity used by U.S. homes goes to objects that absorb and lose energy in standby mode. That estimate doubles in many other countries. TI is helping reduce this waste of energy. In fact, some of our products consume as little as 500 nanoamps of current in standby mode – less than a watch battery.
TI’s Power Design Center focuses on research and development of power-management semiconductor engineering. Developers are driving energy-efficient innovation in end-equipment designs, especially in the areas of AC adapters and high-power-density computing and server systems for markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Electric motor efficiency
Motor control is a high-growth market for TI, as roughly two-thirds of the world’s electricity is used to power motors. TI chips decrease motor energy consumption as much as 60 percent by enabling, for example, variable speed drives and properly sized motors for a variety of applications, including heat and air-conditioning systems, appliances, fans, blowers, e-bikes, pumps and compressors.
Aside from the tremendous energy savings, these motor drives extend product life spans, reduce noise and improve reliability.
To improve our understanding of motor control and design new technology to improve efficiencies, we operate a Motor Lab within our existing Kilby Labs. TI has several product lines intent on developing advanced motor control and motor drive solutions, as about 10 billion motors are shipped globally each year and developing countries are beginning to use more.
TI’s Solar Energy Systems Lab identifies technologies required for safety, power conversion, monitoring and communications related to solar innovation. When combined, these technologies can reduce installation cost and complexity. These technologies also open up solar installation opportunities where the available area does not have uniform exposure to the sun.
TI’s technology-enabled improvements are converting energy from the sun to stored energy in batteries. This allows products, like solar lanterns, to provide lighting long into the night for thousands of villagers in India, where approximately one-quarter of the 1.6 billion people in the world who lack electricity live. These lanterns also are creating entrepreneurs, who rent and maintain these affordable lighting sources.