At first, social media seemed like a passing technological fad. A few years later, social media technology proved to the the innovation that would define how people would interact and conduct business. Therefore, social media’s importance in today’s world is undeniable, whether it is just a way to keep your friends updated on your latest escapades, a way to share your favorite music, or a means to improve the popularity of your web-based business. Unfortunately, its heavy reliance on non-renewable energy has made it a necessary evil.
One company, Infineon has come up with a technological innovation aimed at ridding social media of this unappealing tag.
Social media technology requires more power than most people can even begin to imagine. Handling of billions of messages every day consisting of text, videos, images, and audio files consumes a tremendous amount of power. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook rely on massive data centers. These facilities are also power hogs that account for the largest proportions of these companies’ electricity needs.
Estimates indicate that a whopping 2% of all the electricity generated in the world is used to transport data over the Internet. Social media technology companies account for a good share of this power. Worse still, these power needs will continue to grow over the years. Therefore, better power efficiency is required in the social media technology sector now in preparation of an even more taxing future.
Infineon technology is meant to improve server efficiency. Server farms such as those owned by social media companies can consume considerably less electrical power if their energy efficiency is increased. The technology is also seeking to reduce the amount of heat the individual components in these servers produce. As it turns out, servers can actually use more energy for cooling than for actual data handling work, and if the heat these components produce is reduced, the servers would save substantial amounts of power.
The new technology is based on the properties of a new groundbreaking semiconductor material – silicon carbide. The semiconductor would replace the silicon currently being used in servers. The current silicon usually contains a few free electrons, while silicon carbide has a higher percentage of free electrons. The added number of electrons is what causes better electricity conductivity.
Improved electricity conductivity translates into less heat production in the servers. After testing a server using the silicon carbide technology against a server using traditional silicon technology, the differences in power consumption were awe-inspiring. The server with the better conductivity used less power. Additionally, the improved server construction technology resulted in less heat dissipation, which translated into additional power savings since less energy was required to cool the system in comparison to the energy previously required for cooling purposes.
The Infineon server technology introduces power saving benefits for social media technology companies on two main fronts. The silicon carbide technology results in server power efficiency as well as a reduced need for cooling power. Overall, the technology could reduce the current power consumption needs of server farms by about 3%, or about the power capacity of a single nuclear power plant.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.