More power to your amp

UK start-up Nujira has developed a power amplifier that could save mobile phone operators millions of pounds on the running costs of their networks.

A power amplifier designed in the UK could save mobile phone operators millions of pounds on the running costs of their networks, claimed its developer.

Nujira said its technology can improve the efficiency of power amplifiers used in mobile base-stations by up to four times, slashing the vast electricity bills run up by their owners.

The company – a small technology start-up in Cambridge – has secured £500,000 investment capital, allowing it to build prototype hardware that can be tested by the mobile telecoms industry.

All wireless communications systems rely on power amplifiers to convert electrical power into RF energy. Mobile base-stations are particularly energy hungry, with almost all the electricity they consume used to support the amplifier.

Conventional base-station power amps also suffer from significant heat dissipation, meaning that expensive and bulky air- conditioning units need to be installed alongside them.

According to Nujira, its amplifier system achieves efficiency levels of about 35 per cent compared to the 10 per cent level currently typical in the industry. This could lead to an overall cut in power requirement of 60 per cent and reduce associated heat loss, leading to major knock-on savings in electricity costs.

The issue is pressing for mobile operators planning to offer increasingly data-hungry 3G services to their customers, adding to the power requirements of their networks even further. Base-stations already cost the global industry over £1bn a year.

Nujira said that although the initial focus is on base-stations, its technology could also be applied to other wireless communications systems such as handsets, satellite transponders and point-to-point microwave links.

The company is in talks with potential users in the mobile infrastructure industry over the launch of its first product. It will be able to proceed to working prototype stage after raising cash from a consortium of investors led by Amadeus Capital Partners, a major backer of hi-tech start-ups.

Other companies Amadeus has taken under its wing include Bluetooth specialist Cambridge Silicon Radio and Plastic Logic, developer of plastic electronic circuits.

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