Can we create an energy efficient Internet?

November 28, 2014, University of Melbourne
More devices means increased energy consumption. Credit:

With the number of Internet connected devices rapidly increasing, researchers from Melbourne are starting a new research program to reduce energy consumption of such devices.

Led by the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) at the University of Melbourne, the program will develop new hardware and cloud-based solutions to improving efficiency of .

As more connected devices are used across the world through the Internet of Things, there is a need to address the demands that provide sensing, monitoring and control for a vast array of things, from traffic lights, to home appliances and building components.

The associated increase in data processing and transmission will result in significant energy consumption.

CEET Director, Dr Kerry Hinton, said the new research agenda would establish Melbourne at the heart of efforts to create a sustainable-networked planet.

"CEET has proven leadership in understanding the complex energy requirements of the global telecommunications network. This next phase will build on that leadership, contributing to industrial solutions that ensure the unquestionable benefits of our connected world do not come at an unsustainable cost."

Bell Labs Network Energy Research Program Leader, Dr Thierry Klein, said effective collaboration with skilled specialists would be a key factor in solving future network efficiency issues.

"Efficiency and sustainability are already significant challenges for the telecommunications industry and this will only increase as more devices are connected and more data is moving around the network. Our work with CEET is a critical part of the Bell Labs sustainability research agenda and this new research program will play a big part in how we address challenges for the global industry in the future."

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3 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2014
Maybe with a more well-designed thermoelectric converter almost all waste heat from Internet electronic devices can be recovered into electric power again closer to maximum Carnot efficiency.
3 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2014
Who is the 'we' in the headline?
not rated yet Nov 29, 2014
Most computers generate localized heat which is then vented to the air. An air conditioner must then collect the heat at huge expense to pump it outside

I saw a facility where cool San Francisco air was simply vented inside at night, immediately cutting cost 50% for free. I personally try to vent hot computer air out a window when possible, which converts the computer from a heat source into a cooling ventilator. In winter I keep the computer indoors using it as a heater. It is insufficient for Russian winter but quite adequate for coastal areas
3 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2014
Heat in data centers is one of their biggest problems. I suggested to them they replace half of their batteries with PEM cells or a self-reforming fuel cell, making their hydrogen and DC right there, eliminating many steps of rectification and conversion.

That group, 7X24Exchange, used to pay me well.
3 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2014
Kove: "I saw a facility where cool San Francisco air was simply vented inside at night, immediately cutting cost 50% for free."

That is the first thing a decent conservationist evaluates is the use of waste heat. We did extensive building and industrial technology analyses for free in the 1980's, as part of a program to "generate" capacity by reducing the waste in the businesses and homes of our customers.

I live in the East Bay, where it gets to 115 sometimes, but have no A/C, because I can take advantage of the significant diurnal differentials.

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