Technology is becoming an ever larger part of our lives. Since the advent of commercial computers in the early 1980’s, technology has been digging itself deeper and deeper into almost all parts of our every day life. Today, we have become so reliant on it that we would seriously struggle without it, and it touches almost anything you can think of.
So it looks as if it’s here to stay, and there are few who argue against it being anything but a good thing. It has drastically altered our lives for the better; made them more comfortable, allowed us to live longer and in more extreme environments, and made us more efficient. However, until the past 5 years little thought had been given to the energy consumption that these products consumed, but with rising energy prices and higher demand it is now becoming very important.
Since then the drive has been on for efficiency and low energy consumption in all things, and with the huge increase in the amount of technology in the world every day this is now key. In the past few years lots of clever energy recycling methods have been developed, here are some of the best:
Green Data Centres
With constantly rising energy prices driving the prices of datacentre services upwards, as well as some centres not even being able to supply enough juice, they are looking to become more efficient. This has included computer controls to distribute power in the most efficient way, solar panels on roofs, green walls, ground source cooling and other clever power savers. This has now resulted in some establishments being able to cut bills by over 40%.
Energy Recycling Data Centre
A new study undertaken by Microsoft researchers reveals the power of servers, especially when all located in one setting like a datacentre. It has been shown that despite the efficiency saving brought about by virtualisation, with full utilisation of resources, the servers themselves produce an amazing amount of heat. It was calculated that with as few as 40 units you could create what is know as a ‘data furnace’, and produce a heating installation with enough power to heat the average house. The paper goes on to propose housing company servers in the basements or utility rooms of people’s houses, which would give a cool environment for the server to run in, and in turn heat the house.
Alternatively, a data centre could make real use of this heat, either turning it into electricity via a plant of their own or redistributing it around the building with specialist equipment, much like that produced by Ambaheat.
With advances in energy collection technologies in the past 10 years, more and more electrical devices are now being fitted with harvesting capabilities. This includes piezoelectric, thermoelectric, electromagnetic and the most popular, photovoltaic. The ultimate goal is to produce items that can run themselves and require no charging or battery-replacing at all.