We first noted the potential of "energy harvesting" to power devices without conventional batteries or grid connections three years ago. 2013 research shows the "Ambient Energy Harvesters" (AEH) market now growing at a CAGR of 17%. Some wearable tech incorporates AEH and AEH can mitigate the environmental impact of the Internet of Things (IoT). These applications, which could significantly reduce IoT's battery e-waste stream, will likely accelerate the market.
We've counted over 17 billion pieces of e-gear attached to the global ICT infrastructure. The 'Internet of Things' (IoT) will dramatically increase this number by the end of the decade. Can technology keep up with the energy and resource demands?
We are fans of wind energy - our office and in-house ICT gear are 100% powered by wind-generated electricity purchased form our local utility. We are seeing more wind-powered ICT emerge around the world - the latest is the news that Microsoft has purchased the entire outputs of two wind farms.
We wrote in 2012 about the ecoATM, "…an automated self-serve kiosk system that uses patented, advanced machine vision, electronic diagnostics, and artificial intelligence to evaluate and buy-back used electronics directly from consumers for cash or store credit." In 2013, we noted the EcoATM concept had been accused of facilitating the theft of e-devices. Now, we note ecoATM appears to be thriving and has received an international sustainability award.
The Bloom Energy Server is a "distributed power generator" that uses fuel cells to convert air and natural gas into electricity. We wrote in 2010 that the 'Bloom Boxes' are "already being used by ICT companies, but not for for mission-critical ICT applications." By mid-2012 we could report that they are used for applications ranging from television to telecom. We've updated this post with a video about e-Bay's Utah datacenter.
We are constantly on the lookout for ICT-intensive communities who appear under-engaged in global Green ICT awareness. More active participation from these communities could do much to advance ICT sustainability. We identified American higher education and global ICT4D advocates as two communities where more effective embrace of Green ICT has significant potential. Console gamers comprise another such community. This is important because research firm IHS has marked game consoles for production growth in 2014.
Location is becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of ICT facilities. We've been tracking facilities in North American and Europe which try to leverage geographic features for greener operations. Our latest examples include Apple benefiting from its Nevada (US) site's underground water and low risk of natural disasters, a satellite broadcaster favoring Wyoming's cool weather, an award-winning Norwegian data center benefiting from on-site hydro and cooling water, and a video about Iceland.
We launched Vertatique with the statistic that data centers consumes ~2% of global electricity production. We now know that the globe's broader ICT energy footprint is ~8%, the majority of which is NOT from data centers. The contribution of communications, driven by explosion of cloud computing and mobile devices, has helped drive the number higher. Here are the facts and figures.
The Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010-2015 covers a wide range of Green ICT practices and should be considered by other government entities looking to adopt Green ICT practices. We will periodically look at various elements of the Australia's plan - first up are the six components of its ICT equipment procurement plan.
There are compelling reasons why the global ICT for Development (ICT4D) movement can benefit by embracing Sustainable Green ICT. A snapshot some of the purported "best" practices and other resources for ICT4D reveals little movement in this direction.
We took a look in October 2013 at five resources recently promoted on Twitter as big-picture looks at #ICT4D topics. Here's who is NOT talking about Green ICT.