Infineon, together with 17 European partner companies, has formed the technology cooperation SmartPM (Smart Power Management in Home and Health) to bring down electrical waste to a minimum in home appliances, power supplies and in healthcare and medical equipment.
Under the project coordination of Infineon, the companies are collaborating to significantly increase energy efficiency savings in appliances by up to 25 percent of the electrical energy consumption, without compromise to performance, while potentially reducing overall CO2 emission by 540 grams with every kilowatt hour of electrical energy saved. The European SmartPM technology cooperation includes companies and academic institutions from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.
Among the devices with the highest electrical energy savings potentials today are electrical motors and power supplies such as used in servers, desktop and laptop computers, and battery chargers for mobile devices. For example, electronically controlled motor drives in household appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioning systems, washing machines or dishwashers could see an increase of energy efficiency of up to 35 percent. According to several market research institutes, approximately up to 60 million server units shall be in operation until 2011. A server consumes an average of 600 W which corresponds to a global consumption of 36 GW. Even a reduction in demand by 1 percent, corresponding to 360 MW, would be equivalent to the capacity of a hydroelectric power station, whilst not forgetting that more efficient power supplies also have reduced cooling demands, further lowering the electrical energy consumption.
In the SmartPM project, the 18 companies will work together to develop system architectures, power modules, innovative design concepts for chip circuits including chip sets, chip memory, power management and specific driver ICs. The semiconductor technologies under investigation include silicon, Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) and Silicon-Carbide (SiC). They cover different voltage ranges, including low voltage (up to 100 V), net voltage (120 V to 400 V) and high voltage (at least 1,000 V).
The SmartPM project, which will finish in January 2012, has a total budget of approximately Euro 20 million, half of which is carried by the partners. It is supported by a financial grant of approximately Euro 3.3 million from the European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council (ENIAC) as part of the sub-program “SP4 Nanoelectronics for Energy & Environment” and of more than Euro 6 million from national funding agencies, such as the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); the Belgian IWT; the French Ministère de l’Economie, des Finances et de l’Industrie; Secrétariat d’Etat à l’Industrie (STSI); Enterprise Ireland; the Italian Ministero Istruzione Università Ricerca; APRE Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea; the Dutch SenterNovem; the Research Council of Norway; the Spanish DGI-Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia; and the Swedish Vinnova.
The SmartPM project participants are, in alphabetical order, semiconductor, power module and software companies, manufacturers of motor drives and medical equipment as well as academia: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Spain); Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands); Dublin City University (Irleand); EBM-Papst Mulfingen (Germany); Elec-Con technology (Germany); Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (Germany); GE Vingmed Ultrasound AS (Norway); Infineon Technologies (Germany); JLT Mobile Computers Sweden (Sweden); Kontron Embedded Modules (Germany); Microspire (France); On Semiconductor (Belgium); Philips Consumer Lifestyle BV (the Netherlands); Philips Technologie GmbH Forschungslaboratorien (Germany); Stiftelsen Sintef (Norway); STMicroelectronics (Italy); Telefunken Semiconductors (Germany); and Thales Research and Technology (France).