How to save Sweden’s annual power consumption in the kitchen

Mar 4, 2016 | Business & Financial Press

Munich, Germany – March 4, 2016 – Simply switch off the light from time to time? A host of useful ideas for saving energy are circulated for the World Energy Efficiency Day on March 5. Infineon Technologies AG (FSE: IFX / OTCQX: IFNNY) shows how a new technology turns household power guzzlers into true efficiency wonders. The global power consumption of refrigerators alone offers annual potential savings of 172 terawatt hours (TWh) without any negative impact on performance. The energy saved adds up to more than a country like Sweden consumes every year. The technology behind it is the “inverter.”

From icebox to energy-saving chips

Gourmets in ancient times had ice brought from mountain regions to cool their wine and keep food fresh. In Germany, the iceman delivered block of ice until the 1950s. After that, the modern, electric refrigerator took over, as did energy consumption.

According to market researchers, there were around 1.33 billion refrigerators worldwide in 2015, most of them old appliances. Each of them uses an average of around 480 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. Even a nine-year-old television only consumes an annual 160 kWh when used for four hours a day. That means the refrigerator is still one of the major power guzzlers in the home, and the basic technology remained unchanged in decades. A conventional motor knows only "on" and "off" and, accordingly, has just two power levels – no power or full power. Full power means the highest power consumption. Added to the purchase costs are the often significant electricity costs across the entire service life – and the negative impact on the environment.

Energy-saving chips are already reducing power consumption in many new appliances by more than 30 percent: Semiconductors regulate the current flow and adjust the motor performance to suit actual need. The basis for this is an inverter, which is why experts talk about inverterization.

Speed regulation instead of On and Off

The principle behind it is simple: For an appliance to work efficiently, sensors constantly measure data – in the case of the refrigerator, for instance, temperature, humidity and motor speed. A mini-computer, a so-called microcontroller, uses this data to calculate the required control commands. The power chips or power semiconductors translate these into the ideal compressor speed. This is far more efficient than always switching the motor completely on or off.

To ensure that smart home appliances become the standard in future, Infineon is developing semiconductors for this inverter technology. The example of the refrigerator illustrates how much power can be saved. Inverterization reduces power consumption by an average of 144 kWh per year. With 1.2 billion old refrigerators, that means global potential annual savings of 172 TWh. That is also more than the power consumption of all German households.

Worldwide, state-of-the-art energy-saving electronics will gradually be integrated into the other home appliances. But that is not the only area in which energy savings can be made: Lighting accounts for 20 percent of global power consumption. Using LEDs and lighting control this could be reduced by two thirds. More information about saving energy can be found at

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG is a world leader in semiconductor solutions that make life easier, safer and greener. Microelectronics from Infineon is the key to a better future. In the 2015 fiscal year (ending September 30), the company reported sales of about Euro 5.8 billion with some 35,400 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX) and in the USA on the over-the-counter market OTCQX International Premier (ticker symbol: IFNNY).

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  •  Intelligent electronics saves energy. The annual savings potential for refrigerators, alone, is 172 terawatt hours – more than a country like Sweden is consuming every year.
    Intelligent electronics saves energy. The annual savings potential for refrigerators, alone, is 172 terawatt hours – more than a country like Sweden is consuming every year.

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