Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Eco-Computer with a natural wood look

01.08.2012
Surfing for hours on the Internet consumes a lot of electricity and is harmful to the environment. However, a new ecological PC saves energy as it operates: It produces about 70 percent less CO2 than conventional computers. As the first computer of its class, it obtained the “EU Ecolabel,” the environmental label of the European Union.

A work tool, a leisure activity resource, a personal assistant - computers are ubiquitous. Yet the environmental performance for today‘s computers leaves a lot to be desired: they rapidly become obsolete, typically contain toxic substances as flame retardants and have individual components that are difficult to recycle. Moreover, they consume plenty of power whose production, in turn, causes the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.


The environmentally-sound touch-screen PC, iameco, is definitely out of the ordinary – indeed, it is made out of wood.
© MicroPro

Employees at the MicroPro Company in Ireland, working in collaboration with colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin, have engineered a wooden-frame computer with reduced environmental impacts. As the first computer of its class, the “iameco” (pronounced “I - am - eco”) was awarded for the “EU Ecolabel,” the European Union’s environmental label.

“This touch-screen PC has a very low energy consumption over the entire lifecycle of the unit – starting from production, through the use phase to its ultimate recycling,” explains Alexander Schlösser, scientist at IZM. The carbon footprint is less than 360 kilograms CO2eq over the full product life cycle, which is 70 percent less than a typical desktop PC with monitor.

In addition, it can be easily recycled. Of the materials used, 98 percent can be recycled. Indeed, 20 percent of the computer can be recycled immediately – in other words, many parts and components can be reused for repairing other computers – such as parts of the wooden frame.

Heatsinks replace fans

But how is it possible to design such an environmentally-friendly PC? One example: to ensure that the processor does not overheat, a fan typically provides cooling to the PC. This kind of ventilation not only consumes energy, it also comes with an annoyingly incessant buzz. So, the fans were replaced with heatsinks, which convey the heat from the processor via copper tubes, called heat pipes. This fan-free design saves energy, and the computer is barely audible. The scientists also got creative with the display lighting. Instead of conventional lighting, LEDs illuminate the screen and improve its energy efficiency by 30 to 40 percent. The manufacturers reduced the hazardous materials to a minimum, and for the most part substituted halogenated flame retardants with chemicals that are less harmful to the environment. Over the long term, these halogenated flame retardants should disappear from all computers.

Since the eco-PC was designed with standard components, users can retrofit it anytime – for example, if more internal memory is needed. And if the computer were to crash , the users would benefit from the improved dissasembly and modular design of the device. This enables the capability for easier repair and maintenance. Only those components will be replaced that are so severely damaged that they can no longer be repaired. The better maintenance option ensures a longer product life, and the easily conducted repairs ensure a high degree of environmentally sound engineering. In the next stage, the manufacturer intends to expand the modularity of the computer so that after a few years, users can equip older computers with a new internal life. The “old” computer would then return to the latest state of the art – and would cost only half as much as a completely new PC. The employees at MicroPro and IZM want to continue collaborating in the future as well. At this time, they are jointly developing an environmentally-friendly wooden frame notebook.

Alexander Schlösser | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/august/eco-computer-with-a-natural-wood-look.html

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht DC smart grids for production halls
02.06.2020 | Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA

nachricht Perfect optics through light scattering
02.06.2020 | Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Joined nano-triangles pave the way to magnetic carbon materials

02.06.2020 | Materials Sciences

DC smart grids for production halls

02.06.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Selectively Reactivating Nerve Cells to Retrieve a Memory

02.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>