Companies and individuals are advancing innovative ideas for more sustainable products. These range from products and services available today to futuristic concepts for tomorrow. A 3-D printer made out of of African e-waste is the latest - watch the video.
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.)
Sustainability in telecommunications equipment, infrastructures and operations is a crucial component of Green ICT. ITU Telecom World 2013 is happening in Bangkok, Thailand, during 19-22 November. The conference program seems to be heavily promoting the expansion of global telecom, but I could find nothing focusing on minimizing that expansion's resources/toxins footprint. Post a comment or send a tweet if you know of a session of interest.
Updates from Europe. Click on "Europe" tag above for all news about the region. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe.
DCO datacenter (Belgium) integrates indirect free air cooling, as-needed LED lighting, and other features to achieve a PUE of 1.11. Two interesting innovations are its "Box in box principle [that] provides the hull of the datacenter. It is used for cooling and the inside boxes are datarooms. This way we need only a minimum of power to move the heated air to the outside" and "The cellar houses a 4 million litre water buffer. This buffer is used to cool during short needs for extra cooling and reduces the usage of chillers with 80%." The facility won several Green ICT awards in 2011 when it opened.
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.
We've been tracking the innovative re-purposing of the globe's ubiquitous shipping containers at the intersection of Green ICT and ICT4D. The Coca Cola Company's "EKOCENTER is a modularly designed kiosk ...transformed from a 20-foot shipping container into a hub of community activity, offering clean, safe drinking water, alongside other services, such as access to wireless communication, electricity, vaccination storage, and more tailored to address community needs." The solar-powered EKOCENTERs are being trialed in South Africa; the company's goal is to place 1,500 to 2,000 worldwide by the end of 2015.
Image courtesy Coca Cola Company
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 to military microgrids in Afghanistan. Fuel/power costs appear to have gone down since 2009 for off-grid mobile operations, but are still significant. Asia leads world in renewable base stations and in microgrid growth potential.
The line between "devices" and "IT" is quickly fading as these two categories merge. Hospitals are a good example. In the late 20th century, many hospitals had two technology departments: "biomed" and "computers". As biomedical devices have becoming increasingly digital and networked, and as IT moves onto mobile devices, many hospitals have consolidated these operations into a single technology organization. A consequence is that Green ICT embraces medical devices and their infrastructures. Our original 2010 post noted that medical equipment sold into the European Union was exempt from the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, but that would be changing. There is now a firm 2014 date.
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." Our focus then was post-collection recycling. Recently, EcoATM has been accused of facilitating the theft of e-devices. That a service encouraging e-gear recycling might inadvertently encourage e-gear theft demonstrates that Green ICT is not exempt from the so-called 'law of unintended consequences'.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is emerging as an important mechanism to ensure more sustainable ICT gear. Here is a review of what EPR is and who is implementing it.
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'll regularly update this post with technologies to watch. (You can see all the technologies which hold the promise of greener ICT in the future by clicking the 'FutureTech' tag, above.) Our latest is research into a phone that can charge itself from ambient radio-waves…maybe.
Electronic media infrastructures and gear are important components of global ICT as movies, television, music, and books all go digital. This post offers a global sampling of sustainability in e-media; see much more by clicking on the "Green media" tag, above.
We advocate reuse of ICT products whenever possible. Reuse often requires refurbishing, a task performed by enterprises ranging from large charities like Computer Aid International to specialty business. The demise of the CRT in broadcasting has lead to the closure on one such business, Hawk-Eye Picture Tube Manufacturing of Des Moines (USA), the USA's last independent CRT rebuilder. TV Technology reports that "Hawk-eye has been known to the broadcast crowd for several decades, providing a budget-friendly alternative to factory replacement tubes for [broadcast monitors]…At one time, the United States boasted hundreds of CRT rebuilding operations. They existed both in the big cities and in small towns, filling an important niche…Typically, a CRT could be rebuilt and sold for one-half to two-thirds of the cost of an all-new tube." CRTs contain many toxins such as lead and other heavy metals and it appears most of CRTs obsoleted by the conversion to digital broadcast were not properly recycled. More: DTV & Green ICT, CRTs & Green ICT