Green CES Profile: Green Plug

Green PlugGreen Plug wants to smarten up your devices’ power consumption. Nearly every gizmo you buy comes with its own power cord and AC adapter, but the San Ramon, Calif.-based startup is offering a way to make your electricity thirsty gadgets sip power more efficiently by using their smart adapter. Green Plug’s adapter saves power by sending precisely the required amount of power to each connected device, eliminating the problem of “phantom power,” power used when an adapter is plugged in but not charging a device. Green Plug’s “Greentalk” is like a smart grid for the spaghetti mess of wires under your desk.

“Everything should plug into everything,” Paul Panepinto, Green Plug’s SVP of sales and marketing, told us over the phone this morning in between demos at CES. The company’s tag line, “One plug, one planet,” articulates succinctly its plans for a universal power system. Panepinto said Green Plug is currently finishing its first round of funding, details of which will be announced once the round is closed. In the meantime, the startup is trying to convince consumer electronic manufacturers to license its free Greentalk protocol and get them to put Green Plug’s chip into their devices. “We’re doing a lot of evangelism, let’s put it that way,” Panepinto explained before jumping off the call to get back to the CES festivities.

The market for power adapters and power supplies is estimated to grow to $4 billion dollars by 2010. Green Plug estimates that in 2008, some 3.2 billion new power supplies will be added around the world while in the U.S. alone, 434 million old power supplies will be retired. Green Plug hopes to reduce that e-waste in addition to increasing individual device energy efficiency. As Panepinto noted, “Why is it every time I get new phone…the old power supply doesn’t work? Why do I have to throw away perfectly working cables?”

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Green Plug, which has 8 employees, was founded in 2006 by Frank Paniagua, the man who brought us the Video Electronics Standards Association, which standardized computer monitor power interfaces. Now Paniagua is hoping to standardize power interfaces for all consumer electronics. And why not? Having a single, smart power strip send the appropriate amounts of power to a variety of devices makes far more sense, both environmentally and economically, than multuple individual power supplies that push power all the time.

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