Lowering the power of FM transmitters to cope with rising energy costs is one solution, but not the only one

It’s been said that with recent electric price increases, buying a new FM energy saving transmitter now and replacing a 10 year old or older transmitter could pay for itself rapidly, and the savings would continue into the future.

But is this really the case?

As part of the analysis of the problem that we have been carrying out for a few days, we talked about it with an expert.
Gianluca Busi, marketing manager of Elenos Group, based in Poggio Renatico (Ferrara), a corporate group (which also includes the famous Itelco brand) which operates all over the world in the supply of FM radio transmission equipment (in February 2019 acquired the historic Broadcast Electronics (BE), its former competitor in Illinois), made himself available to Newslinet to provide his perspective.

Energy saving technology

(Newslinet) – How can technology can help radio broadcasters reduce their electricity consumption?

(Gianluca Busi) – A lot. Elenos was the first company in the industry beginning in 2007 which focused their designs towards reducing power consumption. The financial and economic crisis of 2008 thus found us ready to face the new energy challenges, with a complete range of products that boasted industry leading electrical efficiency. And since Elenos transmitters have further increased their electrical efficiency, achieving what was considered unattainable up to 20 years ago: that of 70% “AC to output”.
In the early 2000s, a good transmitter was 50% efficient, and energy efficiency was not a prime design requirement. For example, a 5kW transmitter consumed 10kW, while today current Elenos products consume only 7kW, a massive improvement. We were the first, since 2008, to make possible a realistic return on investment resulting in the transmitter being essentially free.

A plan for reduced energy costs

Many broadcasters large and small and worldwide have utilized this strategy to replace their transmitters and achieve substantial energy savings.

Comparisons to 20 and 10 years ago

(Newslinet) – Comparing a current transmitter with one of 10 or even 20 years ago, how have the technologies employed changed?

(Gianluca Busi) – Elenos designed FM transmitters for the first time, as early as the early 2000s, not as a combination of individual parts, instead thinking for the first time, of the complete transmitter. Starting from design requirements formulated specifically for durability, ergonomics and energy saving, investing heavily in research and development engineers and the advanced computer modelling tools to change completely the way transmitters are designed.

Savings algorithm

We integrated the advantages of new LDMOS semiconductor technologies with algorithms designed for optimal management of the transmitter, both in terms of long reliable life and in terms of energy savings. Elenos focuses on maximizing efficiency in operating conditions, and understanding and eliminating causes of failure.

The transmitter for free

(Newslinet) – But with all that development, in these days of soaring energy costs, is it really practical to buy a new FM transmitter to replace a 10 year or older unit to have it practically for free and to earn as well?

(Gianluca Busi) – Today the possibility and convenience of replacing the old FM transmitters with the latest generation is still possible, and indeed is more practical than ever. Over a short period of time, the purchase cost is borne by the savings on the cost of energy. With the financing solutions offered by Elenos, this is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

Not just FM

(Newslinet) – With the planning of frequencies, TV now uses transmitters of much lower power than FM ones. Nonetheless, energy expenditure remains large in the budget. Do you have any technological innovations here too?

(Gianluca Busi)  – Elenos and Itelco are continuously looking for innovative solutions, in FM, DAB and Digital television. New advancements and products will be announced soon, always with the goal of advancing technology and the efficiency and performance frontier. (EG for NL)