Excerpts from an address at the International Telecommunications Union's 2011 Green Standards Week sheds light on on Green ICT initiatives within China's communications industry.
I wrote of the launch of Canada's GreenStar Network over two years ago. The announcement of an Asian node late last year in this "zero-carbon" network is a measure of the project's progress since then.
Email and email attachments have less environmental impact than physical delivery. But email is not without its own costs, both in terms of energy/carbon footprints and organizational productivity. A French company has taken a hard look at this and announced that it will move toward "zero email". At the same time, a German company has stopped its servers from routing some email after hours.
Apple's iPad, e-readers like Kindle, and smart phones lack the storage capacity and I/O options of even a netbook, necessitating connection to a cloud of data and applications. iPhone users began placing unprecedented demands on the cloud two years ago; it is likely that users of the tablets and other new devices and services are accelerating the trend. New statistics now reveal the the amazing scope and speed of this demand.
Fujitsu announced that it has established a consolidated green product development standard based on the IEC 62075 framework covering the environmentally conscious design of AV and ICT equipment. The standard will encourage product designs which "promote resource efficiency and recycling", "reduce power consumption during…use", "reduce noise levels", and "avoid…use of hazardous materials".
Communications is another area where we pay an energy/heat/carbon price for speed. IEEE Spectrum reported in 2008 that network interface controllers in computers and switching gear consume over 5 terawatt-hours per year in the United States alone. 1/Gb/s links consume 4W more than their 100 Mb/s counterparts and the upcoming 10 Gb/s link could consume 10-20W more. Fortunately, energy-efficient networking is receiving more attention as Green ICT expands beyond the data center.
UK telecom provider BT is working on broadband delivery technology that varies its power in response to demand.
The "latest generation of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) line cards - which allow up to 20Mbit/s broadband speeds on the last mile of the network - [operates] in an 'always available' rather than 'always fully on' mode…BT’s network infrastructure currently accounts for more than 60 per cent of its carbon footprint and the access network represents a large part." BT reports this new tech - called "cool broadband" - is still under development, but has already been used in a small customer trial.
The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) announced that "it has assembled a record number of exhibitors who will showcase solutions for alternative energy and service assurance in the “Green Pavilion” at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® in November in Atlanta, GA
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 two years. We've noted Bharti Infratel's use of fuel cells to replace diesel generators at off-grid telecom sites India.
IdaTech is a company whose fuel cells can consume a mix of bio-methanol and de-ionized water. T-Moblie is using the IdaTech fuel cells in California, which has significant incentives for bio-fuel use.
Sep 2011: Marlow Industries has announced, "a complete range of thermoelectric-based energy harvesting devices, offering customers a low-cost, zero-maintenance power solution for wireless sensor applications…By converting small degrees of temperature difference into milliwatts of electrical power [they] can perpetually power wireless sensors for the lifetime of the application. This green innovation offers a solid-state, reliable energy source for sensors, actuators, valve solenoids and other small devices by recycling wasted heat…With new building codes requiring sophisticated lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC), 'smart' designs are key to moderating usage…builders will have a cost-effective and green alternative that will relieve resources spent powering these devices."