Feeds

Green semiconductor advice goes beyond the chip

Cradle-to-cradle thinking

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

ISSCC The semiconductor industry is poised to make major contributions to global energy efficiency, according to NXP Semiconductors chief technology officer René Penning de Vries speaking at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).

The need for energy efficiency is twofold, according to Penning de Vries speaking at the San Francisco, California, event. Namely, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, and to reduce the overall need for the energy required to power electronic devices. This will, in turn, reduce the need for power generation and thus also reduce carbon emissions

"For every one per cent saved in the world's electricity consumption," said Penning de Vries, "roughly 40 fewer power stations are required."

Most energy efficiency efforts undertaken by the semiconductor industry up until now have focused on chips themselves. The next steps "require a new climate of innovation," which Penning de Vries defined as "cradle to cradle". That means design, though manufacturing, to use in carefully monitored operation with real-time, component-level, highly optimized power management.

Among the areas of improvements that Penning de Vries discussed were buildings, displays, lighting, and cars.

Buildings: approximately 2.5 billion electricity meters are currently in use worldwide. Unfortunately, most meters are primitive analog devices that must be read manually by a peripatetic meter-reader with a clipboard.

Networkable meters are only now beginning to appear, adding the advantage of centralized monitoring and immediate feedback to their users.

The next step will be smart metering using advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) - which Penning de Vries said in an aside to the assembled semiconductor designers will "require a lot of silicon."

AMI meters will be able to not only monitor and regulate electricity use, but also intelligently load-balance in real time, flattening out peak demand - which, according to Penning de Vries, is actually a rare occurance - only 55 hours per year, for example, in California.

Widespread adoption of AMI metering could result in a 10 per cent reduction in electricity use.

Displays: Penning de Vries referred to the current backlighting systems used in the majority of large-screen displays - think wide-screen LCD TVs - as "stupid." To illustrate the immediacy of the challenge, Penning de Vries claimed that: "As three million homes upgrade to home cinema, we need another - large - power station."

He outlined a number of proposed improvements that would reduce current power requirements by up to 85 per cent, yet still produce the same brightness as is achieved in today's systems.

All of his suggested improvements require monitoring the display's video signal to determine the color and brightness of each pixel, and then modify the power used for illumination on a pixel-by-pixel basis.

Merely using white LEDs as illumination, then dimming the illumination of white pixels could result in a 50 per cent power cut without changing perceived illumination, according to Penning de Vries. Adding RGB sensing and adjusting illumination to match pixel needs could drop that power by another 10 per cent.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.