The Cloud supporting the digital economy could become significantly more energy-efficient with the adoption of the new Digital Power microcontrollers (STM32F334) from STMicroelectronics NV. The new STM32F334 Digital Power line is an extension of ST’s successful STM32 family. The full pin and SW compatibility with the entry-level STM32F301 devices (with the 7ns PWM resolution) provides the powerful advantage of a single development platform. A proven development ecosystem supports the STM32F334 Digital Power line, assisting the design of high-performance digital power units.
"Integrating features already proved in STM32 F3 devices used for digital motor drives and solar-inverters, the new STM32F334 Digital Power line adds innovations such as the high-resolution timer, making these the industry's most advanced microcontrollers for digital power applications," said Michel Buffa, General Manager, Microcontroller Division, STMicroelectronics. "With built-in high-speed peripherals featuring versatile interconnects, multiple timer outputs, powerful CPU and communication peripherals, these devices greatly simplify digital control of complex power-supply topologies used in data servers and telecom infrastructure, as well as in wireless charging points, lighting, welding, and industrial power supplies."
Today's digital infrastructure draws large quantities of electrical energy. Data centers alone are believed to consume around 1.3% of the world's electricity – about 264,000 GWh per year. Only about 40% of this energy is used productively, according to Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) calculations by the Uptime Institute, while the rest is lost, mostly as heat that must be dissipated by large and expensive cooling systems. It is therefore vital to improve efficiency as the numbers of cloud users and uptake of cloud services are growing quickly and predicted to continue growing.
Techniques such as digital control of computer power supplies can help boost data-center efficiency to over 60% by adjusting continuously as power demand fluctuates, according to the Uptime Institute. ST's new microcontroller simplifies the data-center industry's transition to energy-efficient digital power supplies, such as multi-phase interleaved or resonant soft-switching (LLC), by providing all the major power-control functions in a single chip. The 217ps high-resolution timer embedded in the STM32F334 guarantees superior precision allowing better power-supply efficiency while the asynchronous ultra-fast reaction time guarantees safe operation. This will maximize the impact of digital power conversion to improve the Cloud's efficiency, potentially reducing global electricity demand by around 260GWh daily equivalent to the electricity consumption of the Netherlands.
STM32F334 Digital-Power microcontrollers are in production now and available in LQFP64, LQFP48 or LQFP32 packages, priced from $1.54 for orders of 10,000 units.