Reviving the European Code of Conduct for EPSs?
May 9, 2012 - I had mixed feelings when I received my invitation to attend last week's workshop on the European Commission's Code of Conduct (CoC) for External Power Supplies (EPS). I was excited to finally visit the EC's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy when the weather was nice (over the years, the meetings I've attended there have always been in dreary winter). I was also a little surprised. Power supply energy efficiency improvements have developed at a fast pace since the CoC's current requirements became effective in 2008 and last year, Europe's mandatory Ecodesign Directive adopted the same EPS efficiency requirements as the voluntary CoC, making the latter unnecessary.
Based on the meeting's stakeholder discussion, writing an obituary for the EPS Code of Conduct might be premature. Data presented by industry groups, power supply and power conversion IC manufacturers, and end application companies supported an opportunity to tighten up efficiency limits beyond what even Europe's Ecodesign Directive mandates.
Interestingly, the elephant in the room turned out to be the U.S. DoE's new proposed EPS standards. There's a strong desire to harmonize with the U.S. program, but there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the classifications and timing described in the DoE's 171 page Notice of Proposed Regulation (NOPR). While the DoE is proposing new, separate requirements for battery charger systems which could eliminate efficiency requirements for EPS in certain applications, the CoC only focuses on EPSs, not on the end application. These and other issues will become clearer in the coming weeks; the DoE just held their first stakeholder meeting to allow public discussion of the NOPR details.
The CoC EPS group plans to meet again in mid to late June to continue the process, intending to finalize a new revision before the end of 2012, with an effective date in late 2013. If you'd like to attend the next stakeholder meeting and help draft version 5 requirements, contact Paolo Bertoldi at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll also be posting updates as the revision process continues.