Green Plug featured here and here is a new technology from the up and coming startup of the same name. It’s mantra “One Plug. One Planet.” is indicative of the eco-friendliness on which the company is found. Green Plug wants to change the way consumers and manufacturers think about AC adapters, batteries, and basically things that plug into the wall.
The general idea is that all devices will use a truly universal AC adapter and that this will cut down on waste. Green Plug takes this idea further by making their plugs “smart”. Essentially, a Green Plug would feature an LCD status display and when paired with a compatible device provide information about the charge status. Further, because the Green Plug-enabled device would also be “smart” the Green Plug would cut the flow of power when the battery was fully charged and thus resulting in a reduction of power usage.
Currently there is a movement to standardize mini-USB as a power plug for many devices. An unfortunate limitation of this tech is that USB simply cannot handle the load required by most devices larger than a cell phone. Green Plug-enabled devices would be able to notify the Green Plug of its specific power requirements and in this way it is more intelligent and more capable than the USB-powered counterparts.
Green Plug is versatile and wants to be integrated into hubs, shops, offices and even homes. Aftermarket AC adapter providers like Targus could use Green Plug to create hubs capable of powering multiple devices at a time. The LCD read-out would provide status information for each connected device. Retail locations and offices could implement Green Plug to save energy and allow anyone with a Green Plug device to sip some juice from the power grid.
A big benefit that seems to be over-looked is integration with Smart Grid technology. Smart Grid is an idea being implemented by many major power companies to provide transparency to end-users regarding real-time pricing and usage of power. In other words, Smart Grid aims to have a household’s appliances use more power when the price of electricity is low and use less power when the price of electricity is high. Green Plug is smart too and could be integrated with Smart Grid to reduce load based on the information provided by the user’s power company. Some devices can be charged less quickly by limiting the amount of power that is provided. In this way it would be possible to charge a device and specify whether charging speed or energy savings are a priority.
While Green Plug has a lot to over come it has the right idea with its focus on energy savings and universal access for the end-user. Green Plug’s Earth first principles have come at a great time when energy prices are constantly on the rise.