Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Half the productivity, twice the carbon

11.10.2010
Green technologies key for IT industry profitability in 2020

Unless the IT industry adopts new energy-efficient technologies in the coming decade, it runs a serious risk of being unable to contribute to growing the global economy if limits are placed on carbon emissions.

The findings come from an 18-month investigation by scholars at the Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAID) in Singapore and Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston.

"In the face of growing global concerns over greenhouse carbon emission, the key for the industry is finding new technologies that deliver more performance for each kilogram of CO2 emitted," said Rice computer scientist Krishna Palem, who directs ISAID, a joint institute of Rice and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

"Fortunately, there are viable technological options on the table and the information and communication industries have a strong track record of embracing new technologies."

The report found the information and communication technology (ICT) industry in the U.S. is on pace to grow its carbon emissions at twice the rate of its contributions to gross domestic product over the coming decade.

"In the U.S. in 2009, the economic output of the ICT industry per kilogram of CO2 emitted was about $2.83, and in a business-as-usual scenario, that output will fall to about $1.06 per kilogram of CO2 by 2020," said study co-author Chris Bronk, a fellow in technology, society and public policy at the Baker Institute and lecturer of computer science at Rice. "Based on those numbers, the industry is headed for a brick wall if limits are placed on CO2 emissions. In a carbon-constrained economy, green innovation will be absolutely essential for ICT profitability."

The report included a painstaking analysis of both the carbon emissions and the amount of gross domestic product (GDP) that are delivered each year by the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. The report also offers a new metric, the sustainability innovation quotient (SIQ), which expresses the number of dollars returned in GDP by the ICT industry for each kilogram of carbon dioxide it emits.

"Sustainability research and development is one of the key thrusts for NTU, and the latest research findings involving scholars from the joint NTU-Rice Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics, are a further affirmation of NTU's capabilities and commitment in promoting sustainability globally," said NTU Provost Bertil Andersson. "The Sustainability theme pervades the University, and it is through initiatives such as ISAID that NTU aims to promote and develop new energy-efficient technologies, playing its global role in achieving a sustainable Earth."

The report grew out of a graduate course on information technology sustainability that Bronk and Palem, Rice's Ken and Audrey Kennedy Professor of Computing, co-taught at Rice in spring 2009. In preparing for the course, Palem and Bronk found a dearth of verifiable information about the ICT industry's carbon footprint, and Palem suggested the in-depth analysis after neither they nor their students found a reliable metric that related the ICT industry's contribution to gross domestic product relative to its carbon footprint.

Working with Bronk and Palem, graduate students Avinash Lingamneni and Kirthi Muntimadugu compiled numbers from government and industry sources. The team determined the number of various devices that are in use today, how much energy they consume and how that consumption is likely to be effected by expected growth in demand. Because IT devices don't emit CO2 themselves, but instead use electricity that is produced largely by burning coal and natural gas, the authors factored in the effect of cleaner, more efficient electric production technologies that will be rolled out in the coming decade.

In addition to information technology staples like PCs and laptops, the authors studied communications devices like smart phones, and they considered the impact of video game consoles -- one of the market's fastest growing product segments. Networking equipment for telecommunications and wireless providers was not included in the report, but data centers were, due largely to previous studies that had looked at their energy consumption in significant detail.

The authors calculated the global carbon emissions that will likely result if the ICT industry continues with business as usual. The calculations showed that global carbon emissions related to PCs and laptops, which accounted for 48.5 percent of all global ICT emissions in 2009, will nearly quadruple by 2020. Data center-related emissions will more than triple by 2020, and calculations showed that emissions related to both game consoles and mobile phones will more than triple by 2020. Mobile phones, which are constrained by battery life, and game consoles will together account for just 5.01 percent of total ICT emissions by 2020.

ISAID, a bi-national institute founded in 2010 by Rice and NTU, is based in Singapore and dedicated to developing, finding and fostering sustainable, low-cost, energy-efficient information technologies.

The full report is available at: http://www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/multimedia/2010-10-11-ictreport.pdf.

David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Metamolds: Molding a mold
20.08.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

nachricht Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation
17.08.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

20.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>