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 usually DC to begin with, and super-efficient LED lighting is also DC. So DC power distribution has been a attractive option, but there have been vigorous arguments for and against. Recent events suggest the tide is turning in favor of DC distribution, although skeptics continue to press their case. The growing use of solar-generated electricity might be providing the latest boost DC.
Image courtesy IEEE Spectrum
Information and Communications Technology for Development - ICT4D - has become an explosive force in developing economies around the globe. Much ICT4D is inherently more sustainable than its counterparts in developed countries. This could deteriorate unless Green ICT becomes an explicit part of ICT4D. Now is the time to make that happen.
In an ironic turn of events, the e-waste being reprocessed in China is coming home to us through imports. This includes lead1 in our food.
Wearable tech is of interest to Green ICT because it can drive miniaturization and energy efficient. Miniaturization can reduce resource consumption in the creation of ICT gear and reduce e-waste in its disposal. Miniaturization combined with energy-efficiency can enable a host of applications ranging from "smart building" sensors to compact assistive technology. Is more wearable tech all positive? We look at a number of technologies, including one developed in Kenya which allows shoes to charge mobile phones.
Updates from Africa and the Middle East. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe. Click on 'Africa-ME' tag above for all news about the region.
Powering Telecoms: West Africa Market Analysis presents this view of the Green Telecom opportunities in the Ghana/Nigeria region. "…a subscription base of 24.9 and 107 million respectively…29,835 sites providing mobile network coverage to around 80% of current population in these two countries. Nigeria has a whopping 24,252 telecom tower sites in total while Ghana has a network base of 5,583 sites…Out of the total 24,252 telecom sites in Nigeria, around 52% of the sites are off-grid…against only 11% of in Ghana. The remaining sites…have grid power supply of variable quality and reliability. Due to Nigeria’s poor grid power supply, over 81% of its on-grid sites suffer power outages for up to 6 hours a day. Only 2% of off-grid sites are deployed with green power…~ 55% of off-grid sites) still rely heavily on diesel generator backup power, running 24x7. The remaining off-grid sites (43%) are deployed with battery hybrid solutions. Most of the on-grid sites have diesel generator as backup power source.
Updates from the Americas (ex-US). Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe. Click on 'Americas' tag above for all news about the region.
The Haiti Connected Schools Program "brings sustainable computing solutions and Internet connections to 40 schools in rural Haiti." When a school is ready to receive a lab "solar panels are installed either on the roof or on poles next to the computer lab and the indoor cabling with inverter and batteries are completed." Although everything from ICT gear to LED lighting could be powered directly by DC from solar panels, most rural solar-based ICT programs use less efficient DC-to-AC inversion. Click here for a discussion of why and here for an overview of DC power for ICT.
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. (Information about the ICT implications of Japan's earthquake and tsunami have been moved to its own post.)
Fast Company's list of 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012 is topped by Chinese activist Ma Jun, Director of the nonprofit Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE). Ma's focus on pollution began in the 1990s and became critical to Green ICT a few years ago. "In 2009, his team began to notice several cases of health problems due to heavy-metal pollution being reported in local newspapers. 'To our surprise, the source wasn't mostly mines or government-operated smelters,' he says, 'but factories manufacturing global IT equipment'…By April 2010, Ma had discovered 29 major tech brands using factories with hazardous operations." Ma and IPE gained global recognition in 2011 by challenging the Apple, allegedly the largest and least responsive of the tech giants implicated in Chinese pollution. Learn more from our 2011-12 coverage of Ma, IPE, and Apple.
Here we track gear for consumers and businesses seeking ICT resiliency. This is a wide range of ICT-related gear suitable for areas or situations lacking reliable grid power. Our latest is a is a hand-cranked USB charger.
Two Green ICT threads have converged in the natural disasters of Japan's earthquake/tsunami and America's hurricane Sandy. One is how energy-efficient gear, infrastructures, and practices can contribute to more sustainable ICT. The other is how efficient ICT can combine with renewable energy sources to deliver education, medicine, and other basic services to areas with little or no dependable electricity. From this converge comes a vision of sustainable ICT with is both efficient and resilient.