Energy Internet and eVehicles Overview

Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to prepare society for inevitable climate change. To date most people have been focused on how to reduce Green House Gas emissions, but now there is growing recognition that regardless of what we do to mitigate against climate change the planet is going to be significantly warmer in the coming years with all the attendant problems of more frequent droughts, flooding, sever storms, etc. As such we need to invest in solutions that provide a more robust and resilient infrastructure to withstand this environmental onslaught especially for our electrical and telecommunications systems.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with eVehicles and dynamic charging where vehicle's batteries are charged as it travels along the road, may provide for a whole new "energy Internet" infrastructure for linking small distributed renewable energy sources to users that is far more robust and resilient to survive climate change than today's centralized command and control infrastructure. For more details please see:

Using eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: http://goo.gl/bXO6x and http://goo.gl/UDz37

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top: http://goo.gl/wGjVG

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change: http://goo.gl/juWdH

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet http://goo.gl/niWy1g


Monday, March 30, 2009

The next killer app for the Internet - dematerialization

[I am here at the fantastic Freedom to Connect conference which is well worth watching on webcast (http://freedom-to-connect.net/). Many scientists are warning that the planet may be close to a tipping point where we will experience run away global warming (see Andy Revkin’s recent blog from the NYTimes for a summary of several studies on this issue). We simply may not have the luxury time for small incremental adaptations to address the challenge of global climatic disruption. One of the major ways we can reduce our CO2 footprint is through de-materialization where we replace physical products with virtual ones delivered over the Internet. Some studies indicated that we can reduce Co2 emissions by as much as 20% with materialization. I argue that dematerialization can be further amplified through carbon rewards (instead of Carbon taxes) where consumers are rewarded with a variety of virtual products in exchange of reducing their carbon footprint in other walks of their lives. But to take advantage of this opportunity of dematerialization we need open high speed broadband networks everywhere. Hence the importance of conferences such as Freedom to Connect. From a pointer by Tim OReilly on Dave Farber’s list – BSA]


Andy Revkin blog on the planet being at a tipping point
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/28/tipping-points-and-the-climate-challenge/

Interesting seybold piece on the environmental impact of publishing:
http://www.seyboldreport.com/ready-or-not-welcome-age-low-carbon-publishing

Have you ever considered what the carbon footprint of a magazine or an eReader is? What about the carbon footprint of your publication? Not everyone cares about carbon footprints or defers to the authority of science on climate change, but when Coke, Pepsi and Apple begin to carbon footprint their products, and Taco-Bell begins to open LEED-certified restaurants with low carbon footprints, it may be time to start.
According to information recently released by Apple, the lifecycle carbon footprint of an iPhone is responsible for the emission of 121 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions over the course of a three year expected lifetime of use. Over 10 million iPhones have been sold to date. Though it is not a direct comparison, it is interesting to note that Discover magazine estimated that the lifecycle carbon footprint of each copy of its publication is responsible for 2.1 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the same amount produced by twelve 100-watt light bulbs glowing for an hour or a car engine burning 14 ounces of gasoline. Over the next few years it can be expected that the reporting of lifecycle data and the carbon labeling of all products will move from the margins to the mainstream - including the footprinting of print and digital media products. Welcome to the age of low carbon everything.

There are billions of kilowatt hours of electricity embodied in the paper, ink and digital technologies we use each day, and close to a kilogram of CO2 is emitted for each kilowatt, but the energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with print and digital media supply chains have typically been overlooked, misunderstood or underestimated. Those days are drawing to an end. Increasingly major brands like Walmart, Pepsi, Coke, TacoBell and Timberland see carbon footprinting and carbon disclosure as an opportunity to differentiate themselves and grow - even in the face of a global recession.
[…]
Before you use one of the many carbon calculators popping on the Web to measure the carbon footprint of whatever medium you use, it's important to realize that the results can vary dramatically - as do their underlying assumptions. Most fail to employ standards. Until now, lots of calculators and "carbon neutral" companies have made promises to help you reduce your footprint. But there's been no single authority or regulatory agency to dictate how carbon usage should be calculated or disclosed. Standards and specifications for carbon footprinting such as ISO 14040, ISO 14064 and PAS 2050 now do exist, and open standards-based Web 2.0 platforms like AMEE are now available that enable accurate carbon footprinting, like-for-like comparisons and large-scale supply chain analysis.

Carbon rewards instead of carbon taxes
http://green-broadband.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stunning demo on the future of cell phones and computers

[Here is a fascinating TED video showing demonstrating a novel new human-machine interface for cell phones/computers. One of the big challenges of computer miniaturization and power consumption is the large interface devices required for humans to access computers and cell phones – namely the screen and keyboard. This MIT demo is a brilliant demonstration of another approach. Solving the power consumption issues of the human machine interface is critical because, as reported in the ABI research paper – zero carbon networking is the next big thing. ABI Research forecasts that in 2009 over 800,000 cell phone base stations will utilize alternative energy solutions such as wind or solar energy. ABI Vice president Stuart Carlaw says, “One only has to look at the splash of solar powered mobile devices at Mobile World Congress 2009 to see that environmentally friendly solutions are becoming increasingly important to mobile consumers, service providers, application developers and OEMs alike.”
Companies that focus on building zero carbon optical and wireless Internet networks and related computer equipment will be the big winners. This will be driven not so much by the requirement to make the Internet zero carbon, whose contribution to overall CO2 emissions is only about 2-3% globally, but by “gCommerce” applications where consumers and businesses are rewarded with free telecommunications products and services in exchange for paying a voluntary carbon tax on their automobile, home heating/cooling etc –BSA]

Stunning demo on the future of cell phones and computers
http://www.ted.com/talks/pattie_maes_demos_the_sixth_sense.html

800,000 Alternative Energy-Powered Base Stations in 2009
http://www.abiresearch.com/press/1390-800%2C000+Alternative+Energy-Powered+Base+Stations+in+2009+%96+Clean+Telecoms+is+the+Next+Big+Thing

“gCommerce”
http://green-broadband.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 9, 2009

Building a zero carbon Internet

[Most people still don’t appreciate the sacrifices that are going to have to be made in order to achieve CO2 reductions in line with Kyoto agreement or upcoming Copenhagen agreement as documented in a recent MIT study that public attitudes about climate change reveal a contradiction: “ Surveys show most Americans believe climate change poses serious risks but also that reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions sufficient to stabilize atmospheric GHG concentrations or net radiative forcing can be deferred until there is greater evidence that climate change is harmful. US policymakers likewise argue it is prudent to wait and see whether climate change will cause substantial economic harm before undertaking policies to reduce emissions. Such wait-and-see policies erroneously presume climate change can be reversed quickly should harm become evident, underestimating substantial delays in the climate’s response to anthropogenic forcing.”

http://climateprogress.org/2008/02/01/mit-study-sterman-stabilizing-carbon-dioxide-concentrations-not-emissions/

Overall we need 80% reduction in GHG emissions in the coming years in order to simply stabilize the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We have not yet begun to experience the severe climatic disruption that will occur with the existing CO2 in the atmosphere, never mind the additional GHG gasses that will be emitted in the coming years. Every sector of society is going to be affected, including the Internet and ICT industry even though their collective contribution to global GHG emissions is relatively minor at 2-3% (but projected to double about every 4 to 6 years)

Improvements in energy efficiency, or PUE ratios at data centers are simply not going to be enough, especially when you consider the overall growth in the Internet and ICT in general. The overall absolute value of GHG emissions from the Internet and ICT is bound to increase despite all our best efforts in energy efficiency. Hence, as much as possible we need to strive for a zero carbon policy. It will not be easy to move towards zero carbon in some sectors of society like transportation, that is why other sectors must make an additional effort to move to zero carbon in order to achieve an overall target of 80% reduction. (Nothing is truly zero carbon – we use the term zero carbon when CO2 emissions are insignificantly small from the energy production itself)

CANARIE in partnership with ITAC recently held a workshop on this subject on the many technical and business challenges of building a zero carbon Internet. CANARE intends to fund a pilot demonstrating the technical and business advantages of building a zero carbon Internet. Many of the presentations at the workshop are now available at:

http://www.slideshare.net/event/canarieitac-green-it-workshop

One of the challenges building a zero carbon Internet is finding renewable sources of energy to power data centers, routing nodes, carrier hotels etc. One option is to purchase renewable power from the local utility. But this is fraught with various issues in that purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) does not eliminate the need for dirty coal plants and it does not protect the customer from significant jumps in the price of power as cap and trade comes on line. Even if the customer is purchasing RECs, renewable power delivered over the grid will increase in cost versus dirty power, as there will be significant demand for such power when cap and trade significantly pushes up the price of dirty power.

The “megawatt mindset” of most utilities also remains a major challenge to building a zero carbon Internet. Fortunately there are now companies that building windmills and run of the rivers turbines specifically for the Internet and ICT industry that will work independent of the electrical grid, even in urban settings. Windmills designed for the utility industry tend to be monstrous devices in order to get economies of scale and cause all sorts of nimby responses. But most data centers and Internet network nodes need far smaller devices that can be mounted on roofs. Since they are not part of the electrical grid, there are no transmission lines and the customer is assured of clean, renewable electricity at a long term guaranteed price.

A good example is Ecotricity in the UK which builds and operates wind turbines on partner sites such as data centers, factories and other facilities. Ecotricity takes on all the capital costs of the project, including the turbine itself. The partner agrees to purchase the electricity from the turbine and in return receive they received their own dedicated supply of green energy at significantly reduced rates. There is no finical risk to the data center or Internet node.

http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/mwp/mwp.html

A number of companies are also building specialized wind turbines for computer and telecommunication nodes that are much smaller scale in scale than the massive wind turbines used by the utilities. Ericsson for example is deploying cellular radio towers that are solely power by the wind.

http://green-broadband.blogspot.com/2008/10/wind-powered-cell-phone-tower.html

Vertical axis wind turbines originally developed at the National Research Council in Canada are also very popular. There is no rotating blades the units are extremely compact and yet can operate in all sorts of wind conditions beyond the range of normal wind turbines
http://www.windports.com/ereal.html

There is also tethered air rotor systems which provide more sustained power because they operate at higher altitudes

http://www.magenn.com/index.php
Of course moving to a less reliable energy supply imposes new challenges on the Internet architecture and routing. In the past re-booting routers or route flaps were seen as a bad thing. Manufacturers went to considerable trouble to make “carrier-class” routers and equipment that never needed re-booting. But with intermittent availability of energy at every computing and routing node we have to re-visit many of the architectural principles of the Internet in terms of topology, routing protocols, and reliability.

We need new research into such concepts as least cost Co2 path routing where the best route may not necessarily be the shortest route in terms of latency etc. New distributed caching architectures to minimize CO2 emissions such that large databases and computers can be located at distant renewable energy sites will also be required but yet do not impact latency. New network routing topologies with off-center routing and switching will be required as today most routers and switches are located at the intersection of multiple routing paths. Finally new ideas and architectures will be required as we look to integrate low CO2 optical networks with energy hungry routers.
--BSA]

Monday, March 2, 2009

US Department of Energy funding program for Green IT

[The DoE should be applauded for this initiative on Green IT. My only concern is that the program is focused on energy efficiency rather than reducing Co2. As many readers of my blog know, energy efficiency can paradoxically increase energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Energy efficiency in the absence of other policies such as a carbon tax will backfire, as we witnessed from the results of the CAFÉ laws passed by the UC Congress during the last energy crisis in 1972. Specifically targeting CO2 reductions often requires different tools and solutions than those required to improve energy efficiency. Thanks to Rod Wilson for this pointer – BSA]





Hello,

The Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program has announced it's intention to issue an Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) solicitation or request for proposal. You are receiving this notification because of your expertise and experience in the ITC area.
The solicitation, termed a "Funding Opportunity Announcement" (FOA), is expected to be released during the mid-March time frame and is expected to be open for a shorter time (possibly as short as one month) than the three or so months customary for ITP.

The Research and Development segment of this solicitation is expected to require a team capable of and experienced in 1) research and development, 2) manufacturing the technology proposed, 3) bringing the technology to the end user through sales and marketing, and 4) serving as an end user to demonstrate the efficacy of the technology proposed.
Some organizations may possess more than one of these capabilities.
This notification will enable those intending to submit a proposal to start to form complete teams before the solicitation is released. The solicitation will require cost sharing as defined by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The pre-announcement of the Funding Opportunity Announcement may be
viewed at
https://e-center.doe.gov/doebiz.nsf/d76fbc294818822885256d98006c63b6/0b3
7b72285cd2c7185257569006d57e6?OpenDocument

[see below]

When released, the FOA will be available for viewing at Grants.gov
(http://www.grants.gov) and at the DOE's Industry Interactive Procurement Systems (IIPS) or "e-center" (https://e-center.doe.gov).
Applicants are strongly encouraged to register at these sites to receive notification of announcements posted by the DOE Golden Field Office.
When the FOA is released, applications will only be received through Grants.gov.

This solicitation results from the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009", popularly known as the stimulus act, which directs the DOE to support research to increase the efficiency of information and communication technology and improve standards.

Multiple mailing lists have been used to disseminate this information.
Please accept our apologies if you have received more than one copy of this notification.

Gideon Varga
Technology Manager
Industrial Technologies Program
U. S. Department of Energy


Notice of Intent to Issue Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) No.: DE-PS36-09GO99023

Description:


Notice of Intent to Issue

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) No.: DE-PS36-09GO99023

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Golden Field Office (GO) intends to issue, on behalf of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Industrial Technologies Program (ITP), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Information and Communication Facility Energy Efficiency”

Title IV of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 directs DOE to support research to increase the efficiency of information and communication technology and improve standards.

The goal and scope of the proposed FOA are broadly described in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), Title IV - Energy Savings in Buildings and Industry, Subtitle D – Industrial Energy Efficiency, Section 452 “ENERGY-INTENSIVE INDUSTRIES PROGRAM”, Section 453 “ENERGY EFFICIENCY FOR DATA CENTER BUILDINGS” and in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Title IX – RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, Subtitle B – Distributed Energy and Electric Energy Systems, Section 922 - “ HIGH POWER DENSITY INDUSTRY PROGRAM”.

There are two broad areas of interest. Each proposal must address only one of these areas of interest. The areas of interest are:

A. Information and Communications Technologies Research & Development For Energy Efficiency
The energy used by our nation’s vital telecommunications and data centers is growing at an alarming rate. As information technology and communications services continue to slowly converge, the data center and telecommunications industries face increasingly similar challenges to control the power usage of their microprocessors or servers and supporting power and cooling systems. The electricity consumed in data centers and telecom systems is already three percent of the U.S. total and growing rapidly. In the face of growing global energy demand, uncertain energy supplies, and volatile energy prices, innovative solutions are needed to radically advance the energy efficiency of these systems, which represent the engine of the American economy today. Enhanced energy efficiency in the central offices and data centers supporting our information, communications technology (ICT) systems will enhance U.S. energy and economic security.
Proposals for research and development in the following areas are sought:
1. Equipment Hardware and Software
Computing hardware and software are the functioning components of server-based data and telecommunications centers and largely determine power and cooling requirements. Achieving high levels of energy performance will require novel approaches to the design and management of these hardware and software systems. The key theme and approach in this area is to minimize heat generation. Thus, energy will be saved by developing novel systems that generate less heat (i.e., new electronic circuitry which will use less energy by increasing chip output per unit of power used) or are impervious to heat, or by the use optics only. These include, but are not limited to:
• Develop all-optical systems to increase energy efficiency.
• Advance ultra-low power circuits like multi-phase clock asynchronous circuits to increase energy efficiency
• Utilize ultra-efficient nano-electronic circuitry, including nano-based information storage devices, wires and graphene-based systems. The latter is expected to make possible the replacement of silicon in future electronic devices, and may make possible the incorporation of spintronic devices in future server-based ICT systems.
• Create hardened electronic equipment which can withstand temperature, humidity and particulate conditions outside the boundary of current generation electronics. Thus server-based systems can operate without air conditioning in environments worldwide, even high temperature environments.

2. Cooling
Cooling is believed to account for a third of all power consumed by information technology, telecommunications, and data centers. The cooling of server-based telephone central offices and data centers can be made more energy efficient by the following, but are not limited to:
• Create advanced component level cooling technologies
• Develop mitigation techniques to reduce the probability of failures associated with “free” cooling.
• Identify and create effective uses of low-quality waste heat generated.

3. Power Supply Efficiency
Data and telecommunications centers require large quantities of electricity to be conditioned, converted, and delivered to the diverse components, including servers, switches, routers, and hard drives. The power supply chain can include electricity purchased from the grid, backup power, onsite-power generation, switchgear, UPS’s, power distribution systems, rack-level and unit-level power supplies, and power management technology. Traditionally, data centers have used AC power distribution systems and telecommunications centers have used DC power. The R&D proposals for power supply energy efficiency may address the following, but are not limited to:

• Research and develop high-efficiency power conversion circuits which optimize server-based data center and telecom equipment.
• Develop special purpose chips, multiphase clocking, ternery/other processing modes, lower-power chips (noted in part under hardware and software).
• Research the use of optical switching to eliminate many conversion steps & losses (Also noted under hardware and software).
• Conduct RD&D of superconducting components.
• Research the use of piezoelectrics to incorporate into micro-mechanical air conditioning for point of load cooling
• Efficiency optimized control systems for power conversion.

Each proposal MUST include organizational participants capable of and experienced in 1) research, 2) manufacturing the technology proposed, 3) bringing the technology to the end user through sales and marketing, and 4) serving as an end user of the technology proposed.

Each R&D project will be funded for maximum of three (2) years, with one or more budget periods.

B. Demonstration and Field Testing of Highly Energy Efficient and Pre-commercial Technologies in Data Center or Telecommunication Facilities

DOE is interested in field testing and independently validating the energy performance of pre-commercial technologies that show the potential to improve energy efficiency while not compromising data center or telecommunication reliability. The demonstration sites will be early adopters of the technologies and must be willing to share information about the cost-benefit results of the field-tested technology projects so as to encourage more rapid market acceptance of the technologies. Accordingly, DOE will work with the demonstration teams to develop case studies of the technology projects using measured and verified results so as to reduce market and technology risk.

The applicants must show a plan for the technologies to be demonstrated and the adoption of other best energy management practices to improve a data/ telecommunication center’s energy intensity performance (energy consumed for a given level of useful computational work) by more than 25 percent and have a Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCIE = IT energy / total facility energy usage) of 0.80 or greater.

New and innovative technologies that are not currently widely commercial and that improve the following parts of a data center or telecommunication facility will be considered for DOE’s cost sharing:

• Information Technology (IT) Optimization. This could include, but not be limited to: server virtualization, data storage and networking optimization schemes, methods in connecting multiple data centers (e.g., “cloud computing”) or any technology and IT optimization system that will result in less heat generation for a given amount computational work load.
• Energy efficient electrical power distribution and supply. This could include, but not be limited to, more energy efficient electrical power supply to the IT or telecommunication equipment through new power transformation and back up technologies by reducing overall power distribution supply and IT system energy losses.
• Energy efficient cooling schemes. This could include, but not be limited to, more energy efficient cooling of IT/telecommunication equipment by more optimally delivering and/or controlling cooling to IT equipment with, for example, wireless sensors or IT systems that require less cooling while not compromising equipment lifetime.
• Distributed generation or alternative power technologies. New innovative combined heat and power or renewable energy technologies that are optimized for data center/telecommunication facilities and reduce overall source energy consumption and carbon emissions are desired to be demonstrated.

Technology demonstrations must be able to be widely replicated in other data centers throughout the United States and not be niche applications.

The demonstration teams must be willing to cooperate with DOE to perform an independent performance validation and to create case studies. Demonstration teams must also be willing to conduct public tours of the demonstration site(s) for up to 2 years after the technology demonstration case study is prepared.

Partnerships between the technology development teams and Federal facilities building new or retrofitting existing data center/telecommunication facilities, as well as other host sites, should be formed.

C. General Information

DOE envisions awarding multiple financial assistance/grant awards on a competitive basis. These awards will require cost shares in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Details about cost share requirements will be included in the FOA along with the details of technical areas of interest, proposal preparation instructions and application merit review and evaluation criteria.

DOE plans to release the FOA in March, 2009. The FOA will be available for viewing at Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) and at the DOE’s Industry Interactive Procurement Systems (IIPS) or “e-center” (https://e-center.doe.gov). Applicants are strongly encouraged to register at these sites to receive notification of announcements posted by DOE Golden Field Office. When the FOA is released, applications will only be received through Grants.gov.

In anticipation of the FOA being released shortly, there are several one-time actions prospective applicants must complete in order to submit an application through Grants.gov (e.g., obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, register with the Central Contract Registry (CCR), register with FedConnect, register with the credential provider, and register with Grants.gov). Due to the likelihood of a short response period, interested applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure these requirements have been met. Detailed information on the DUNS and CCR process is presented at http://www.grants.gov/GetStarted. Applicants may use the Grants.gov Organization Registration Checklist at http://www.grants.gov/assets/OrganizationRegCheck.pdf to guide them through the process. Designating an E-Business Point of Contact (EBiz POC) and obtaining a special password called an MPIN are important steps in the CCR registration process. Applicants not yet registered with CCR and Grants.gov, should allow at least 21 days to complete these requirements. It is strongly recommended that the process be started as soon as possible.

If your organization does not have a DUNS number, go to the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) online registration located at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do to receive a number free of charge or call 1-866-705-5711.

The Central Contractor Registration (CCR) collects, validates, stores, and disseminates business information about the Federal Government's trading partners in support of the contract award, grants, and the electronic payment processes.

To see if your organization is already registered with CCR, check the CCR website located at http://www.bpn.gov/ccrinq/scripts/search.asp. You will be able to search CCR by using either your organization’s DUNS Number or legal business name. If your organization is already registered, take note of who is listed as the organization’s E-Business Point of Contact (E-Business POC). This person will be responsible for registering in FedConnect.

To register in FedConnect, go to https://www.FedConnect.net/FedConnect/ or contact the FedConnect Helpdesk at support@fedconnect.net Please note that the system functionality of FedConnect requires organizations to be registered with the CCR before registering with FedConnect. (FedConnect ‘Quick Start Guide’:
https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/PublicPages/FedConnect_Ready_Set_Go.pdf )

If your organization is not registered in CCR, go to the CCR Website at www.ccr.gov and select the "Start New Registration" option to begin the registration process. Please allow up to 7 days for processing of your registration which includes the IRS validating your Employer Identification Number (Taxpayer Identification Number or Social Security Number). The organization’s E-Business POC will be designated during the CCR registrations process. A special Marketing Partner ID Number (MPIN) is established as a password to verify the E-Business POC.

The DOE will not entertain questions