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EETE SEPTEMBER 2012

DESIGN & PRODUCTS ENERGY HARVESTING UK leads in energy efficiency rankings as Germany pushes ahead By Nick Flaherty Somewhat surprisingly, the UK is leading the energy efficien- all countries can still learn from each other. For example, the cy ranking of the world’s twelve largest economies, according to United States scored relatively high in buildings, but was at the the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American bottom of the list in transportation.” Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Despite this The Eco-Routemaster hybrid buses that rolled out in London finding, the study also reveals that there are still vast untapped for the Olympics come as an example of energy harvesting efficiency opportunities. moving into transportation. These are using energy harvesting The rankings extend ACEEE’s established energy efficiency to simplify and enhance the communication systems. Pressing ranking of US states to 12 of the world’s largest economies, the bell push for the ‘stop’ button in the bus generates enough representing 78 percent of global gross domestic product; 63 electrical power for a wireless module to activate the stop dis- percent of global energy consumption; and 62 percent of the play and an audible stop signal. global carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions. While other push-buttons need to be connected to the signal The countries were ranked out of 100 possible points in 27 receiver at the bus driver’s position via metres of cable, the stop categories, across four groups, from national energy use to button manufactured by UK company BMAC uses an energy buildings, industry, and transportation. Germany scored top in converter which offers more than 300,000 switching cycles national efforts, China for buildings, the UK for industry and a and a small batteryless wireless module – see figure 2. The tie among Italy, China, Germany, and the UK on transportation – radio signal is unique to each stop button, ensuring no interfer- see figure 1. ence with other buttons in this bus or other buses nearby. The “The UK and the leading economies of Europe are now well receiver module is connected to the bus’ electrical system and ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency,” the bell pushes are then fitted into place. After installation, each said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “This is significant stop button in a bus is programmed for its own logic circuit – for because countries that use energy more efficiently require fewer example, front, middle, rear or wheelchair users. The energy resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, harvesting wireless solution saves up to 100 metres of cabling preserving valuable natural resources, and creating jobs. Unfor- in the bus, saving installation effort and avoiding the need to tunately, our results show that nowhere is the vast potential for replace defective cables, which can be time-consuming. improvements in energy efficiency being completely realized. “The concept of a wireless bell push system has been an as- While many countries achieved notable success, none received piration for bus manufacturers for years. It takes many hours on a perfect score in any category – proving that there is much that the production line to wire up to 25 bell pushes into a vehicle. Fig. 1: Global rankings for energy efficiency. 26 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE SEPTEMBER 2012
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