Sydney researcher looking to boost adaptor energy efficiency


LIFTING the energy efficiency of electronics products could lengthen their life and reduce power use, says Dr Dylan Lu from the University of Sydney.

Heat radiation from electronic products represents electrical energy which is lost due to conversion to heat. This heat can also shorten the lifespan of electric devices.

Dr Lu is researching ways to improve the efficiency and quality of power conversion in consumer electronics and photovoltaic power systems, in order to increase the lifespan of electrical goods and electricity grid hardware.

In Australia electricity from a standard power point has a voltage of 240V but the voltage required for most electrical devices is much lower and usually DC as opposed to AC. An AC adaptor is used to convert the supplied electricity to the required form.

According to Dr Lu, AC adaptors are usually 88 percent efficient, so 12 percent of the electricity is lost in the process, being converted to heat and causing the electronic product to heat up.

As part of the research, Dr Lu is studying how AC adaptors draw power from an electricity network. This is currently done in a distorted and erratic fashion which can harm electricity grid components such as cables, connectors and power lines and interfere with other electrical equipment on the grid.

He found that the efficiency of AC adaptors and their impact on the electricity grid can be improved by reducing the number of components used to build adaptors and employing power quality improvement control.  

Dr Lu is aiming for an efficiency boost to 95 percent to reduce overheating and improve longevity. He has thus far managed to increase adaptor efficiency to around 92 percent. On reaching his aim, he will start exploring the research’s commercial potential.