Electronic Design

Power Management Can Save The World

Former Vice President Al Gore calls it an inconvenient truth. But global warming represents an attractive opportunity for the power-management industry, which can employ its expertise in reducing energy usage to benefit consumers around the globe—as well as benefit the globe itself.

The industry is now turning its attention to long-neglected white goods, which are the biggest users of electricity in homes. As developing regions of the world increase their demand for such products, electricity usage is soaring, along with the volume of greenhouse gasses spewed into the atmosphere by power plants.

Driven by government programs that encourage consumers to buy energy-efficient appliances, consumer demand for such products is growing. To achieve better efficiency, appliances are integrating more semiconductor content for controlling, sensing, monitoring, and connectivity.

Because of this, white goods will be the fastest growing market for power-management devices during the next five years. The worldwide market for major appliances will expand to 462 million units in 2010, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% from 379 million units in 2006.

Shipments of voltage regulators for white goods are expected to rise at a CAGR of 29.8% from 2006 to 2010. Meanwhile, shipments of interface products are expected to grow at an 18% CAGR, while transistors will rise by 12.1% and diodes by 6.1%.

So while global warming may be an inconvenient truth for some, it's a huge opportunity for power-management designers.

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