Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “internet”

The Internet In Europe

Conditions for further broadband development in Europe

This site advocates/predicts the internet as the core infrastructure of the economy of the future. Information exchange, including live pictures, can to a large extent make superfluous a large amount of transporting people, for instance to an office workplace or educational facility. The German magazine der Spiegel wrote an article about the state of affairs of the internet in Europe and Germany more in particular. Here a few graphs from that article.


Read more…

Tablet Energy Considerations

What is the energy impact of a tablet like the iPad? Let’s make a few reasonable assumptions about the user and his tablet:

  • Economic lifespan tablet: 3 years.
  • The user reads a newspaper (6 times per week), a magazine (once per week) and reads a book every two weeks.

    Newspaper, magazine and books can be made superfluous by the iPad. What would be the energy gain?

    Let’s estimate the weight of a newspaper at 500 gram, that’s 940 * 0.5 kg = 470 kg in three years. Let’s assume that the magazine and book have similar weights and we arrive at ca. 550 kg paper in three years. The embodied energy of recycled paper is ca. 19 MJ/kg or 10.5 GJ in total. And that is just paper. Add to this the transport cost of wood from say, Scandinavia or Canada into the EU or USA. Add the cost of delivery to your doorstep, every day. How about the trip to the book store or library by car or bus, every two weeks? Let’s say 2 * 5 km/trip, makes 800 km in three years. That’s 70 liter of fuel.

    Now, what about the embodied energy of an iPad? It is very difficult to retrieve data on that. Apple claims 105 kg CO2 for an iPad2, consisting of 60% production, 29% user energy consumption, 10% transport, 1% recycling.

    We have 550 kg paper = 10.5 GJ, as well as 70 liter fuel. 70 liter of fuel = 0.7 * 2.3 * 70 kg CO2 = 112 kg. So the trip to the library/bookstore every two weeks already is equal to the entire energy usage of the iPad. Assume 1GJ = 15 kg CO2. That means that 10.5 GJ represent 158 kg CO2.

    By replacing a newspaper/magazine/books with an iPad, we reduce the carbon footprint to 105 kg, coming from 112 kg + 158 kg + delivery cost newspaper = 270+ kg. But additionally the iPad delivers the potential to replace the television as well (1300 kg CO2!), or the desktop (1800 kg CO2) not to mention gaming, skype face-to-face communicating, endless internet browsing, internet shoping, and even cloud based working, all for the (energy) cost of 105 kg CO2 per three years.

  • Energy Needs Of An iPad

    The growing number of devices in our daily lives means that we are consuming more and more electricity. This is something that worries lots of people, including me. A new study from a Palo Alto-based not-for-profit group takes a look at thte iPad’s energy consumption habits.

    We do not share the worries as expressed by the article, linked to below, at all! Every hour spent with an iPad is not spent in a car or behind a television or a laptop/desktop computer, all vastly outconsuming the little synmpathetic device as far as power is concerned. Consider that an iPad can replace a desktop, laptop, TV and yes even a car (e-shopping) then it becomes clear what a central role devices like these could play in a resource depleted society. The article assumes a yearly energy consumption of 12 kwh, costing $1,36 against current prices. Even this tiny amount is probably exagerated. Assuming a power consumption of 4 Watt and heavy daily use of 4 hours, this would mean a yearly power consumption of 4 * 4 * 365 = 5.8 kwh.

    Read more…

    ARM Cortex A7 100 milliwatt microprocessor

    ARM produced an energy efficient microprocessor that promises smartphone price reduction from 500$ to 100$ due to chip size reduction of factor five. The chip is intended to be used in cheaper smartphones and tablets.

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    Energy Requirements of the Internet

    Barath Raghavan and Justin Ma from ICSI and UC Berkeley estimated how much energy the internet costs, not just in terms of kwh’s from the plug in the wall, but also the energy necessary to build all these devices that constitute the internet, clients like laptops, desktops, mobile devices as well as devices that provide the internet infrastructure like routers and servers. Here is a summary of the results:

  • Power consumption entire internet (incl. client devices) between 170 and 307 GW.
  • That is between 1.1 and 1.9% of the total energy consumption of 16 TW.
  • Devices: 750 million desktops, 750 million laptops, 1 billion smart phones, 100 million servers.
  • Infrastructure: 1 million routers, 100 million LAN devices (cable modems to hubs and switches to WiFi access points), 5 million cell towers, 75,000 telecom switches, 1.5 billion km of fiber optic cabling and 3.5 billion km of copper cabling.
  • Energy necessary to produce client devices: 7.5 GJ for a desktop (4 year lifespan), 4.5 GJ for a laptop (3 years) and 1 GJ for a smartphone (2 years).
  • Substituting 25% of flights with video conferencing would save the amount of energy necessary to fuel the entire internet.
  • Power requirements breakdown:

    Note that there is considerable downward potential as consumers move en masse away from destops and laptops towards tablets (ipad consumes 2.5 Watt)


    Read more…

    Energy Requirements for the Internet


    An Opel Astra consumes 75kW, in contrast an iPad a lame 2.5W.

    *** 1 Opel Astra = 30,000 iPads.***

    That’s why iPad’s have a future in a resource depleted world and Opel Astra’s have not. Read more…


    No, this post is not sponsored by Apple, but you are excused for thinking so. Forget about a new car, forget about flights to the Bahama’s or Acapulco in a couple of years if you belong to the 99%. But a tablet is a wise investment and affordable ‘luxury item’. Read more…

    Internet as the backbone of future economy

    When a large part of the workforce does office work, as is the case in advanced economies, there is no real necessity to be physically present in the office anymore, provided a high speed internet connection is available so solutions like Skype can replace face-to-face communication. Take Holland. Average commuting distance 37 km. That’s at least a gallon a day of fuel. Here is an example of a 24 inch monitor that merely consumes 2 Watt. iPad’s can consume as little as 2.5 Watt, that’s nothing! According to the New York Times, Google needs 260 MW to power all these google search requests, youtube video and gmail. So what? That’s 52 of these 5 MW windturbines at a cost of 250 million euro/340 million $, a fraction of google’s yearly profit. The car may be heading for the exit, but IT is here to stay. And if there is no electrical power available use this 20 Watt gadget to power your computer and stay warm at the same time.

    [Der Spiegel]

    What Gazprom does with fossil fuels, namely pumping huge amounts through pipelines, Google does the same with data, pumping huge amounts of bytes through glass fiber cables. Google has future, Gazprom has not.

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