- Growing demand for internet processing power has spurred the U.S. Department of Energy to offer funding for efficiency projects that could ultimately lower power demand by 1% annually.
- The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is offering $25 million in funding for concepts focused on creating "innovative components to increase the energy efficiency of datacenters."
- The program seeks to double datacenter energy efficiency by using "innovative data-communications network designs and methods," focused on four areas of development including study of new data center simulations that demonstrate pathways to commercialization.
As the need for internet processing power grows, data centers in the United States are seeking to improve their energy efficiency and could potentially have a large impact on the overall country's energy use.
"The explosive growth of the internet has led to an increase in energy consumption by the Information Communications Technology sector," DOE said. " A recent estimate reports that datacenters consumed an amount of electricity sufficient to power every household in New York City twice over. This amount is projected to double in about eight years."
DOE noted in the Funding Opportunity Announcement that there are multiple approaches to improve energy efficiency in data centers, but said "ultimately the metal interconnects currently used to transmit information between the devices within a datacenter will limit efficiency gains."
The project, dubbed "ENLITENED," aims to overcome the limitations of metal interconnects and to prioritize overall datacenter energy efficiency. "To achieve this, high density, energy-efficient photonic interconnects and related switching or connecting technologies, will be used to develop transformational efficiency improvements," according to the announcement.
"If the technical targets of ENLITENED are achieved, ARPA-E estimates the deployment of these technologies will double datacenter energy efficiency in addition to what is already possible using existing methods," DOE said.