The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has released new USB Power Delivery specifications, which will enable USB ports to deliver up to 100W of power. This development may potentially eliminate the need for proprietary power adapters to charge laptops and power connected electronics devices.
We were privy of the group's efforts to create this new power delivery specification and with this official announcement; the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has released the final details here. The Universal Serial Bus Power Delivery Specification contains extensive details about the design and implementation of the new standards, which will be backward compatible with the USB 2.0 standard.
One of the important changes is how power can be transmitted. Current USB implementations allow power to flow only from the host to connected devices. The new specifications will allow electrical current to flow bi-directional; hence, devices like laptops will be able to charge their batteries over the same ports they use to power connected peripherals like external HDDs.
In order to govern the increase in maximum power delivery, the group has defined five different power profiles:-
Note: Profile 0 is reserved.
The power profiles are meant to overlap such that a device that has a Power Profile 2 will operate equally well when it is connected to a Profile 2 or higher profile source. Only Profile 5 sources are capable of delivering up to 100W of power.
"USB Power Delivery enables a path to greatly reduce electronic waste by eliminating proprietary, platform-specific chargers," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. "We envision a significant move toward universal charging based on this specification, most notably for charging notebook PCs using standardized USB power bricks or when connected to USB hubs and desktop displays that integrate USB Power Delivery capabilities."
With completion of the USB Power Delivery specification, it may not be long when electronic devices can co-exist in a "...flexible power management ecosystem..." whereby these devices can be powered by a single USB cable.