Posts Tagged ‘Committee’

Eco-Design Standards and Green-Energy Opportunities

Pátek, Září 7th, 2012

A new family of rugged, high-efficiency power products from STMicroelectronics , a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, enables technology companies to satisfy stricter power and efficiency targets set by eco-design standards and to target green-energy applications such as solar micro-inverters, photovoltaic string inverters and electric vehicles.

The new devices include the industry’s first super-junction transistors (MOSFETs) capable of withstanding peak voltages up to 950V, as well as 900V devices offering best-in-class energy efficiency and the world’s only 850V devices to be offered in the ultra thin and space-saving PowerFLAT 8×8 HV package. Super-junction technology enables MOSFETs to achieve higher operating voltages with very low electrical on-resistance in relation to device size, enabling power supplies to deliver increased system reliability and energy efficiency within compact overall dimensions.

ST is a major supplier of super-junction MOSFETs, and now offers the highest voltage rating in the market as well as the industry’s only second source of 900V super-junction devices. In addition, the family will soon be extended to include new 800V devices.

Demonstrating the efficiency of the SuperMESH 5 devices, ST also revealed details of the first successful customer application for its ultra high-voltage MOSFETs. TCI, an Italian solid-state lighting innovator, has chosen the 950V STU6N95K5 in IPAK package as the main power switch in its latest LED drivers for advanced and feature-rich LED lamps offering benchmark energy efficiency in a physically compact and cost-effective form factor. “ST’s latest-generation SuperMESH 5 technology enabled TCI to establish the best efficiency and safety margin in the marketplace, creating a compelling value proposition for its customers,” said Maurizio Giudice, Power Transistor Division Marketing Director for ST.

Other popular high-volume applications for ST’s new super-junction MOSFETs include flat-panel televisions, PC power supplies, LED lighting drivers, and electronic ballasts for High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. The MOSFETs will enable designers to meet increasingly strict limits on maximum power and minimum energy efficiency specified by eco-design standards such as Energy Star and the EU’s Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive.

An example of tougher eco-design regulation can be seen in the latest Energy Star Program Requirements for Televisions, version 5.3, which specifies an absolute maximum power limit of 108.0 Watts for 50-in. or larger flat-screen televisions. Another can be found in the ErP lighting regulations, which demand increases in the minimum efficacy of various types of HID lamps between 2012 and 2017.

The high voltage rating of ST’s new super-junction MOSFETs increases system safety and reliability. This is an important benefit in HID lamp ballasts and other systems operating at AC line voltages and higher, such as solar micro-inverters and charging points for electric vehicles. Charging points require very high power-conversion efficiency both to minimize charge time and vehicle running costs. In dc-to-ac inverters for solar micro-generators, high-efficiency, high-voltage MOSFETs enable designers to use higher switching frequencies and so generate high-quality ac power while reducing energy losses and solution size.

House adopts measure to halt light-bulb efficiency law

Čtvrtek, Červen 7th, 2012

Republicans in the U.S. House adopted a provision designed to save traditional incandescent light bulbs by blocking what one lawmaker called the “energy police” from enforcing an efficiency standard.

Even if the House language approved last night survives in the Democratic-led Senate, the impact for consumers probably will be limited because manufacturers such as Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHIA) and General Electric Co. (GE) have revamped manufacturing to comply with the law, making bulbs that use less electricity to generate the same amount of light.

The first phase of the federal efficiency standard, which was passed in 2007 during President George W. Bush’s administration, went into effect this year. It has become a symbol of government excess to Tea Party-aligned lawmakers, who say consumers should be able to buy the bulbs they want.

“People are sick of the government treading where it just doesn’t belong,” said Representative Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican who sponsored the light-bulb amendment, which was added to a broader energy-spending bill.

Burgess’ provision was adopted last night by voice vote. A similar provision was in the spending bill covering the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, which was passed in the House in December.

“The law couldn’t be enforced,” Burgess said of his amendment in an interview. “‘We don’t need no stinkin’ badges. We’re the energy police.’”

A vote on the overarching bill was expected as soon as today.

Democrats, environmental groups and lighting manufacturers such as Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE support the efficiency law.

Blocking the Energy Department from enforcement might let unscrupulous foreign manufacturers push non-compliant products, including to bulk buyers such as builders. Those sales are difficult to track.

“Some in Congress are willing to put U.S. jobs at risk for political positioning,” said Joseph Higbee, a spokesman for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, a Rosslyn, Virginia-based group. “This is an example of a few politicizing light bulbs at the risk of American workers and the economy.”

Companies have retooled plants to make compact fluorescent lights, light-emitting diodes and a halogen version of the pear- shaped incandescent product that meets the efficiency standard. Some of the more efficient bulbs are made in the U.S.
Burgess said consumers should be able to choose for themselves which bulbs they want to buy.

“I’m smart enough to make my own decisions about the purchase of energy, and the government should not feel the need to do that for me,” he said.

The underlying bill would spend $32.1 billion on energy and water-development programs, about $965 million less than what President Barack Obama requested, according to the House Appropriations Committee. It would put more money into fossil- fuel programs than Obama’s budget.

The president’s advisers said May 31 they would recommend the president veto the bill because of cuts to efficiency and clean-energy programs, including to the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy that funds innovative technologies, and language intended to keep Yucca Mountain in Nevada viable as a repository for the nation’s nuclear waste.

Staying ‘happy’ during the dark, depressing winter

Pátek, Listopad 11th, 2011

Martin Morsing, a Vesterbro-based psychologist, said that he sees seasonal affective disorder in five to ten percent of his clients, mostly women.

“In Danish, we call it ‘vinterdepression’ [winter depression], but actually I prefer the English term ‘winter blues’, because the word ‘depression’ carries with it a number of associations which, from a psychological viewpoint, could be misleading,” Morsing said. “It is important to distinguish between a clinical depression and the winter blues. Although the symptoms are similar, they are two very distinct states of mind. To complicate things, the winter blues can easily become a depression if it is not treated.”

The condition can particularly affect the elderly. “They’re less likely to leave their homes due to their increased immobility,” said Sarika Staflund, a Swedish occupational health therapist based in Copenhagen. “They’re frightened they’ll slip in the wintry conditions, so they don’t go out and spend all their time inside, getting even more depressed as a result.”

At its most extreme, depression can lead to suicide. Statistics from the Odense-based Centre for Suicide Research (CSR) show that suicides and suicide attempts peak at two points during the year: October/November, when the days begin to shorten, and April/May, when the days get longer again.

“Studies have pointed towards daylight hours or changes in the day’s length as the most significant explanation for seasonal variations in suicidal behaviour,” wrote Borge Jensen, CSR’s statistician, in a 2003 report. “As the changes in the daylight hours and temperature are the highest in the autumn and spring, the number of suicides and suicide attempts peaks [during these times].”

According to Jensen, it is a common myth that most suicides occur during December. But although the most suicides actually occur in the spring, the long, dark days of winter may be the culprit for that as well.

“People with a severe winter depression, or seasonal affective disorder, lack the initiative to act while they are suffering from the depression, and first get it when they are on their way out of the depressive period in spring,” Jensen told The Copenhagen Post.

Beyond the time of year, the particular weather conditions are also a factor in suicides.

“During autumn and winter, there are more suicides when it is foggy, humid, and rainy, but fewer when there is true winter weather (cold, clear weather with snowfall)”, Jensen wrote.

With the past few weeks providing dark and foggy conditions, what can be done to stave off the winter blues?

Ask a Dane how to make it through the winter, and the odds are the answer will include two words: ‘hygge’ and ‘candles’. The theory seems to be that if one lights enough candles, has enough low-hanging lamps and regularly meets with friends over coffee or drinks, seasonal affective disorder can be avoided. Danes, after all, consume more candles per capita than any other people in the world. But does that work? The professionals think so.

“Definitely that’s a way to survive the hard winter,” Morsing said. “Cuddle up together and have some candlelight to make it more hyggeligt.”

For those suffering from SAD, Morsing recommends they practice light therapy, where special lamps with bright fluorescent lights are used to  simulate the light from the sun. Spending 20-30 minutes a day under the lamp can improve the depressive symptoms. Although, Morsing said, nothing replaces the real thing.

“Be active, do sports, and get out in direct sunlight,” Morsing advised. “That is, during those few hours when the sun is out.”

Which brings us to the cuts. And an admission of personal interest.

Čtvrtek, Srpen 25th, 2011

I liked Harry’s column and was a regular reader, sometimes to marvel at the haplessness of some of the people asking him questions and the gentle, helpful responses he offered. He is also a seriously nice man.

I also like Signe’s strip and have been her friend since the days when she was very young and riding around the city on a bike with freelance art rolled in a tube. As an old editorial page editor, the loss of op-ed space makes me twinge. As a former feature buyer for the Daily News and lover of comic art, losing a page of comics turns the twinge into real pain.

Twenty full columns a day is a lot. Some of the choices aren’t the ones I would have made, but I don’t have the responsibility for making them.

It’s not a question of preference. For instance, I don’t really care whether the local anchordude and the anchorchick beside him are fiercely feuding or enthusiastically canoodling. As an editor, though, I have to acknowledge that a lot of people who buy the paper do care. Some of them can even tell one Kardashian from another. So space devoted to gossip is probably well-spent.

If I were making choices for any newspaper these days, I’d be seriously looking at some traditional pillars of the paper. Stock listings are a thing of the past. TV listings take up a lot of space and need a survey to determine how useful they are to readers. Personally, I haven’t used them in decades, but it’s important to know how many people still find them essential. Does anybody care about the horoscope? If the newspaper business can’t evolve, it will go the way of the woolly mammoth. In the last month, the Daily News evolved.

The current business climate for newspapers is brutal. It began years ago. I had to take reader calls back when the DN dropped its bridge column. You wouldn’t think people who play bridge would be that fierce, but they were. The calls about the “Phantom” and “Mary Worth” comic strips were less polite. The artist who drew the “Ghost Who Walks” organized a campaign for his restoration (it didn’t work) and even meddlesome Mary had her devoted fans.

It doesn’t matter though.

Středa, Srpen 24th, 2011

Since that day, August 18, at least 15 Palestinians have been killed during Israel’s “retaliation” attack on Gaza. One Israeli also died after a rocket slammed into his house in Beer Sheva. A precarious ceasefire has now been called between the two sides but the damage, and the propaganda, is well underway.

Israel, in classic style, is playing on the “terrorist threat” paradigm that has kept it alive and well for so long. Because it claimed that the gunmen originated from Gaza meant this was the story necessarily accepted by the rest of the world, the West in particular. Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committee, which Israel says carried out the attacks, have denied involvement, saying it is not their policy to attack Israel from other countries’ territories.

It doesn’t matter though. As long as Israel says it was Hamas, then it must have been Hamas. Fifteen people, children included, have been killed in the raids, dozens of others injured. And not unlike Qaddafi or Syria’s Bashar Al Assad, Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak warned that, “Those who operate against us will be decapitated.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was no better. “We all witnessed today an attempt to escalate the terrorist war against Israel by launching of attacks from the Sinai,” he said. “If there is someone who thinks that the state of Israel will let this pass, he is mistaken.”

So today, we are back to the unenviable situation we have been in so many times before. Instead of focusing on our legitimate bid for statehood at the United Nations, we now find ourselves fending off more attacks from Israel and defending ourselves against unsubstantiated accusations. The seven Israelis who were killed in the Sinai attacks will be used as pawns in Israel’s war against Palestinian independence. And because the West coddles Israel like no other, it will pay off just like it has in the past.