dev-econ

Sustainable ICT for developing economies: GreenICT + ICT4D

DC Power Distribution for ICT

Most ICT gear - core facilities, communications infrastructures, and edge devices - runs on DC power. Converting AC to DC within a building is inefficient, on-site renewable power generation is often DC to begin with, and super-efficient LED lighting is also DC. All this seems to make DC power distribution an attractive option for ICT facilities, but there have been vigorous arguments for and against. Recent events, beginning a 380-V DC standard for ICT power distribution in 2011, suggest the tide is turning in favor of DC distribution.

Image courtesy IEEE Spectrum

Personal Solar for Devices in the Backcountry

I don't go into the backcountry device-free. A smartphone, with backcountry GPS software, and a digital camera are always with me. Planning for an 11-day rafting/hiking trip through the Grand Canyon in April raised the issue of how to power my gear. I decided to go solar to minimize battery consumption. A February week in the Mojave desert (right) gave me a chance to sort out candidate devices and to configure a compact but workable system. Here are reports from the Mojave and Grand Canyon trips.

Global Green ICT Update: Americas

Updates from the Americas (ex-USA). Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe. Click on 'Americas' tag above for all news about the region.

2016-2015

The data center community has been very focused on reducing energy cost with "free cooling" - disposing of waste heat using natural cooling sources such as cold air and cold water. Even use of seasonal ice for datacenter cooling has been considered! Now, an article from Brazil offers a a unique perspective on a bias implicit in this focus.

Renewable Energy for Remote Telecom

This is solar-powered base station on top of a mountain in Lapland (Finland).

Remote ICT infrastructures are embracing renewable energy for everything from earthquake mitigation in Japan to CO2e reduction in India. Fuel/power costs appear to have gone down since 2009 for off-grid mobile operations, but are still significant. Asia leads world in current renewable base stations and in growth potential. One operator - Indus Towers - now has 20,000 zero-diesel sites.

Technologies for the Future of Green ICT

There is a rich global mix of advanced concepts and technologies emerging from research labs that may improve the future sustainability of ICT equipment and infrastructures. We regularly update this post with technologies of interest. (You can see all the technologies which hold the promise of greener ICT in the future by clicking the 'FutureTech' tag, above.) Our latest posts span research into biological agents that can recover gold from e-waste to multiferroic materials to reduce device waste heat.

ICT4D in the United States

VNL Halifax solar base stationOur coverage of ICT4D - information and communications technology for development - has been tracking the deployment of renewable-powered mobile base stations as an alternative to diesel power in remote areas. There are now tens of thousands of these sites, primarily in Asia. One player in this space, Indian telecom equipment manufacturer Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) , is bringing this technology to rural America. This is a great example of global cross-fertilization within ICT4D.

Container-Based ICT For Developing Countries

Containerized modules have become building blocks for mega data centers. These plug-and-play units offer cost-effective scalability for hosting cloud applications needing only a homogeneous platform. A UK nonprofit known for providing refurbished computers to developing countries now offers an innovative containerized ICT solution for use in disaster areas and remote communities. Computer Aid International launched its ZubaBox in 2012 with the slogan "ICT Hub-In-A-Box Offers Internet Connectivity Anytime, Anywhere". The concept has now been nominated for an award.

Innovative Internet for Remote Areas

Billions of people live in areas still without telecommunications access. Innovative delivery ideas emerged in 2013, including balloons. 2014 updates include a Facebook video explaining its solutions using satellites, drones, and lasers, Google's plans to add satellites to its mix of balloons and drones, and an announcement of a surprising new player.

Solar-Based ICT in a Shipping Container

The Pacific Island Schools Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project has installed a Solar-in-a-Box kit as a computer lab at a primary school on the island of Udot in the Federated States of Micronesia. The installation illustrates several ways in which Green ICT technologies and practices can deliver ICT to remote areas. (We've updated this post with a note about the second phase of PISCES.)

Fuel Cells Green ICT Infrastructures Worldwide

Fuel cells, including those powered by biogas, are a growing part of sustainable ICT infrastructures.

We have been tracking the adoption of the Bloom Energy Server for ICT over the past three years. We've noted Bharti Infratel's use of fuel cells to replace diesel generators at off-grid telecom sites India. Here are more products and deployments; the most recent post is about Nokia's fuel cell technology.

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