Vampires – they’re not just out at night
You may have turned off your TV, unplugged your cell phone from its charger, and clicked off the radio you were listening to as you left the house this morning – but chances are that they did not stop consuming electricity while you were away. According to the Department of Energy standby (or “vampire”) power is responsible for 5 to 10 percent of residential electric bills in the United States, costing consumers approximately $4 billion per year.
But, according to a Green Blog post in the New York Times, new developments in nanotechnology might revolutionize the very device that is responsible for this slow bleeding away of power – the transistor. I.B.M, in partnership with several European companies, is looking to redesign the transistors found in many of our consumer electronics.
If their plan is successful…
…we could have “cellphone batteries that last 10 times longer than today’s models, and computers and other devices that use virtually no power when in stand-by mode”.
This would be quite an accomplishment, both from a consumer standpoint (no more mid-day charging of cell phones) and from an energy efficiency point-of-view. Eliminating 5-10% of residential electricity consumption could translate into large economic savings, through not only smaller electric bills in the short-term, but also by reducing the need for new power plants in the long-term.