New design for mobile phone masts could cut carbon emissions

Apr 14, 2014
This is a signal amplifier. Credit: Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Bristol, copyright 2014

A breakthrough in the design of signal amplifiers for mobile phone masts could deliver a massive 200MW cut in the load on UK power stations, reducing CO2 emissions by around 0.5 million tonnes a year.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff have designed an that works at 50 per cent efficiency compared with the 30 per cent now typically achieved.

Currently, a 40W transmitter in a phone mast's * requires just over 130W of power to amplify signals and send them wirelessly to people's mobiles. The new , however, enables the transmitter to work effectively while using just 80W of power.

If 10,000 base stations in the UK were fitted with the new amplifier, it is estimated that the total saving would amount to half the output of a mid-size, 400MW power station. There are currently around 50,000 phone mast base stations in the UK,** so the potential energy and carbon-saving benefits could be even greater.

The team's development of a less power-hungry amplifier has focused on devising sophisticated new computing algorithms for incorporation into its inbuilt electronic management system, as well as on making a number of adjustments to the amplifier hardware.

Dr Kevin Morris, project leader and Reader in Radio Frequency Engineering, Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol, said: "This new amplifier design represents a step change in that could make a really valuable contribution to meeting the UK's carbon reduction targets."

The team have also succeeded in simplifying the whole amplifier design process, which is of vital importance to encouraging widespread take-up of the project's findings.

"Traditionally, designing signal amplifiers for base stations has been a long, complex process involving a trial-and-error approach and producing one-off solutions," Dr Morris explained. "This has fuelled a reluctance to develop new amplifier designs. To get over that barrier, we've made it a priority to ensure our design is easily replicable."

The team are now working with a major electronics company to take some of the project's key findings towards commercialization.

Explore further: Widest band amplifier ever at 235 GHz opens door to ultrafast broadband

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ex-MIT company rethinks power-feasting amplifiers

Nov 01, 2012

(Phys.org)—Technologists generally agree that power amplifiers have proven to be inefficient pieces of hardware. Turning electricity into radio signals, they eat into the battery life of smartphones and ...

DOCOMO develops compact multi-band power amplifier

May 20, 2011

NTT DOCOMO today announced that it has developed a prototype power amplifier for six frequency bands between 1.5 GHz and 2.5 GHz in a form factor smaller than multiple single-band power amplifiers conventionally ...

Reviving Einstein's spooky action at a distance

Mar 18, 2014

Physicists at The University of Queensland and the Australian National University (ANU) have demonstrated a software-based quantum amplifier which has the potential to expand the use of ultra-secure quantum cryptographic ...

Recommended for you

Scalping can raise ticket prices

20 hours ago

Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. ...

User comments : 0