It is difficult to get reliable data on how long we hold onto the 19+ billion edge devices attached to the global ICT infrastructure. Diverse device types and cultural practices complicate the issue. So do changing purchase and lease plans.
"Were America's Millions of Analog TVs Recycled?" That's the question we began asking eight years ago as the United States converted from analog to digital television (DTV), obsoleting the traditional CRT-based sets. The answer now appears to be "no" due to consumer behavior and a declining market for CRT by-products. The image at the right, taken at a collection point for a university student housing change-over in August 2016, illustrates that there are still a lot of analog CRTs out there.
A competition between two locations in the western United States highlight two big sustainability issues for mega data centers - energy and water. Utah and New Mexico are both vying for a new Facebook "data warehouse".
We've been tracking the potential of "energy harvesting" to power devices without conventional batteries or grid connections since 2011. The latest market entrants demonstrate this segment continues to expand to meet the need son the Internet of Things (Iot).
Sol Chip's "Everlasting Solar Battery" "...integrates all the components required — in a single battery unit — to harvest and supply sustainable solar/light energy to low-power applications." Sol Chip was recognized as a 2016 Sustainia 100 solution. The Sustainia citation noted the potential impact on IoT e-waste "...by limiting the need to continuously replace batteries and reducing the associated costs and waste."
Mobile devices replace the storage capacity and I/O options laptops with a host of cloud services. We first saw this when iPhone users began placing unprecedented demands on the cloud in 2009. Statistics compiled since then reveal the the amazing growth and scope of this demand. This only increases the urgency for cloud providers go green.
Akamai's State of the Internet for Q1 2016 reports, "The growth in data traffic is being driven both by increased smartphone subscriptions and a continued increase in average data volume per subscription, fueled primarily by increased viewing of video content. In the first quarter, data traffic grew 9.5% quarter over quarter and 60% year over year. Looking at [Q1 2011 through Q1 2016], cumulative voice-traffic growth was only 46%, while cumulative data-data growth was just under 1,600%." All this growth drives an increase in datacenter servers (below) as well as of the telecom infrastructure, itself.
Intel's white paper Solar Power for PC Deployments: Enabling ICT Beyond the Grid is a clear and consise overview of how to calculate solar capacity for off-grid ICT. The methodology is illustrated with a case study about creating a solar-powered computer lab for a school in rural Bangladesh.
Researchers around the global are exploring innovative ways to sustainably recharge the billions of edge devices attached to the global ICT infrastructure. Experiments use everything from plants to urine . (You may have to reload page to display videos.)
Short updates from Asia-Pacific. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe. Click on 'Asia-Pac' tag above for all news about the region. Our latest item looks at the scope of GreenICT.
The 2016 Seed Awards in India are promoting a "Green ICT" theme, but the description is a little off. "Does your eco-inclusive enterprise demonstrate social & environmental impacts through application of information and communications technology? Or does it provide solutions for sustainable consumption or production using information and communications technology?" This appears to be an example of confusing GreenICT with ICT4Green, nevertheless, we would encourage any enterprise with a true Green ICT focus to consider entering. This can help align ICT4D with Green ICT.
We have been covering the use of datacenter waste heat to warm facilities from municipal buildings to swimming pools since 2009. That led to coverage of a 2011 Microsoft research idea for how individual servers might become 'data furnances'. That original post with excerpts from the researchers' publication is available below.
Three European companies have now brought the idea to market. Two explain the concept with a video.
We have long advocated for Green ICT awareness in ICT4D. A 2015 paper "Assessing University Students’ Attitude toward Green Computing Practices" from Nigeria provides insight into the short-term future of Green ICT in the region.