How charging an iPhone with clean power can make a difference

How charging an iPhone with clean power can make a difference

  • Clean Power iPhone charges only with low-carbon electricity.
  • It is enabled by default in iOS 16.1.
  • If you add hundreds of millions on iPhone in the world, this can be huge.

Pontus Wellgrave / Unsplash

With iOS 16.1, iPhone users in the US can choose to charge their phones only using “green” electricity.

Apple Clean Energy Charging It works by accessing carbon emissions forecasts on your local power grid and then charging only when those emissions are lower. This might seem like an esoteric change, except for two factors: It’s enabled by default on all iPhones running iOS 16.1, and hundreds of millions of iPhones are in use worldwide, all of which require charging.

“There are 16 billion mobile devices worldwide that need to be charged on a daily basis. The average consumption of these devices can be more than the average of a country like Denmark,” Amy HowardLifewire, who specializes in power electronics for renewable energy and has 28 years in the aerospace industry developing power electronics for sustainable manufacturing, said via email.

green network

The first thought that came to my mind when I saw this feature was, “Why doesn’t the grid store and use its lower carbon energy instead of producing more polluting energy?” But the answer is of course more complex.

the network Can It stores electricity, and the ways in which it can do so is strange enough that it’s worth looking into here. This is especially important when using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind or wave power, because they produce electricity on their own schedule, not necessarily when demand is at its peak.

What Apple is doing is making it easier for iPhone users to become more aware of their role in reducing carbon emissions.

Batteries may be the first option you consider, but they have the same drawbacks as the batteries in our devices. They often use lithium ions that are expensive, for example, and can be hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly. Electricity should not be stored as electricity. It can be converted into other forms of energy.

For example, using excess energy to pump water back up into a tank stores energy as potential energy, which can be released by allowing water to flow down and use it to generate electricity. It can also be stored in the flywheel as kinetic energy. According to the Environmental Protection AgencyThese flywheels can spin up to 60,000 rpm and spin on magnetic bearings in a vacuum to reduce drag and power loss.

Electricity can also be stored in compressed air and ice.

The problem with all of these is that they are ineffective. Energy is used in conversion and wasted as heat. This is where the clean energy charging comes in.

clean energy charging

By waiting for times of low carbon emissions, you are using the excess energy directly rather than storing it. This is great for the devices you’re charging because they store energy until it’s needed. It can also work in some home situations; Some countries offer cheaper electricity at off-peak times, so you can choose to run your dishwasher all night, for example.

Other tasks are more important to time. You should cook your dinner at dinner time, for example, unless you’re really a fan of cold cuts and leftovers.

Apple’s switch to Clean Energy Charging may not make much difference to you as an individual, but since the iPhone installed base is so huge, the impact can be just as massive.


“[S]Mall adjustments add up over time. What Apple does is it makes it easier for iPhone users to become more aware of their role in reducing carbon emissions.” Sarah Jameson From green building elements Tell Lifewire via email. “It serves as a reminder of the importance of reducing carbon emissions and that even normal activities, such as charging your phone when power grids are less restrictive and provide more clean energy, are important in the grand scheme of things.”

And this feature could raise awareness of how the power grid works and how we can save resources and money in other areas, not just when charging our phones.

Right now, this is only available on the iPhone and the US, but if it works and energy forecast data is available, there’s no reason not to expect this to roll out on Mac, iPad, and Apple Watch. In this case, the effect can be enormous.

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