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 in the North America section of this post show how under-utilzed grid power is also making some locations attractive.
Our e-devices contain all sorts of exotic materials, many of which, like tungsten, tantalum, and tin, are refined from ores that originate in Central Africa. Called "conflict minerals", they fund warfare in the Congo and neighboring countries. More people are said have been killed here than any conflict since World War Two. Progress is being made, but legal setbacks and weak laws are slowing efforts. The latest critiicisms focus on proposed EU regulations.
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.
GSMA has published a report and a couple of infographics about e-waste in Latin America. The infographics are displayed in full, below. This report is sign of growing Green CT awareness in the region.
The full report - GSMA's May 2014 report "eWaste en América Latina- is published in spanish, but an executive summary and one of the inforgraphics is available in english. Here are some highlights.
Vertatique strives to cover the CT, as well as the IT, in Green ICT, with attention to networking, broadcast, telephony, and other communications infrastructure elements. Our latest update to this post looks at GHG emission from various segments of mobile telecommunications: network access services, device charging, and industry supply chain.
Our 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.
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?
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 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.
How much gear is attached to the edges of our global ICT infrastructure? Our 2015 estimate is over 19 billion items. This up ~1 billion over 2013. The increase is driven by mobile and consumer media devices, but we are constantly adding new categories like wearable devices. We will update this table as new information comes in over the course of the year.