When are 2 Googles Like a Cup of Tea?

Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross claims two Google-type searches combine to leave the same carbon footprint as boiling a cup of tea.  http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol.news/tech_and_web/article5489134.ece

This piece has piqued the technorati’s attention. One Google defender suggested that less frequent trips to the libary to look up information more than offsets his individual searches.  Another demands to examine his math.  Whatever the validity, it should remind us that Internet use gobbles up a huge amount of electricity.

Data centers consume more than 1.5% of US energy use each year.  US data centers’ energy use more than doubled from 2000 to 2006, when it reached $4.5 billion.  Under current conditions, that figure wil hit $7.4 billioin by 2011.

Cooling costs are a big part of running a data center.  The cost to cool a data center now exceeds the cost to lease the space for it.  For every dollar spend on new server hardware in 2007, more than 50 cents was spent on powering and cooling.  http://www.wwpi.com/top-stories/6493-getting-ahead-of-the-data-storage-energy-crisis-the-case-for-maid

Two small-cap firms that are addressing this issue are Netlist* (Nasdaq:NLST,  http://www.netlist.com/) and Amerigon (Nasdaq:ARGN, http://www.amerigon.com/).

Netlist develops high-density memory products for server applications.  Its low-voltage solutions offer substantial energy savings by significantly lowering power consumption and minimizing cooling costs.  Consider that a typical server memory system uses 25% of total system power and Netlist’s modules reduce memory power usage by 30% and 8% of overall server system power.

Amerigon provides spot cooling (and heating) by running electricity through a solid-state heat pump.  commercially successful in automobile seats, Amerigon and its BSST subsidiary are developing thermoelectric technology applications for larger spaces, such as data centers.  The energy saved by providing spot over ambient temperature control promises huge energy savings in a number of personal and industrial applications.



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