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Signal amplifier design cuts load on mobile phone masts

Bristol University - A signal amplifier

Bristol University – A signal amplifier

Researchers have announced a breakthrough in the design of signal amplifiers for mobile phone masts that could deliver a 200MW cut in the load on UK power stations.

The Universities of Bristol and Cardiff have designed an amplifier that works at 50 per cent efficiency compared with the 30 per cent now typically achieved, they say.

The power efficiency was achieved by “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”.

The project leader was Dr Kevin Morris, Reader in Radio Frequency Engineering, Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol.

“This new amplifier design represents a step change in energy efficiency that could make a really valuable contribution to meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets,” said Dr Kevin Morris.

“Traditionally, designing signal amplifiers for base stations has been a long, complex process involving a trial-and-error approach and producing one-off solutions. 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 research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The wider project ‘Holistic Design of Power Amplifiers for Future Wireless Systems’ lasted 5.5 years and received total EPSRC funding of around £1.8 million.

Image credit: Image courtesy of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Bristol, copyright © 2014

Tags: Dr Kevin Morris, mobile phone masts, signal amplifiers

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