by ITInnovation

DOE Funds Green IT Projects

from the saving-energy dept

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced $47 million in funding for 14 projects to promote developing technologies that can improve energy efficiency in IT and telecommunications. These projects are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will aim to reduce energy use and carbon pollution. The government funding for these efforts will also be matched by over $70 million in private industry investments, raising the total funding to more than $115 million. The three main areas for development will include:
  1. Equipment and Software -- for improving servers and networking devices, as well as creating software for optimizing their energy usage.
  2. Power Supply Chain -- for minimizing the power loss and heat generation for transmitting electricity.
  3. Cooling -- for new ways to cool equipment to work effectively while using less power.
These energy-saving investments target facilities and IT infrastructure that could collectively account for about 120 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year (about 3 percent of all electricity used in the US). Given the projected growth of the IT industry, this economic sector also has the potential to reduce wasted energy significantly and could create benefits beyond its field.

However, what's not clear in this announcement is whether the developed technologies will be released to the public or if the resulting more efficient technologies will be owned entirely by the entities that create them. It's only a somewhat recent trend that arguments have been made to release federally-funded scientific research back to the public so that the rate of progress can be accelerated by open discourse and collaborations. Looking at the list of the grants (pdf), though, it seems likely that only a small fraction of these projects will have published results.

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  • identicon
    way2go, 28 Jan 2010 @ 12:38am

    handout to Yahoo...

    Whoa, if you look at that list, Yahoo gets a pretty big chunk of change for something that they should just be doing anyway... gotta love a good gov't bailout.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Steve (profile), 28 Jan 2010 @ 3:27am

    The way funding for industry tends to work where I am from, the companies being funded are expected to match the government funds in some way (except universities, who do publish). That means that 1mill government funding costs the company 1mill for a total project funding of 2mill. This means that this research would be better described as government subsidised.

    I'm not sure if that's how it works in the US, but if it is, then asking the companies to release this stuff would be asking them to give away their investment. The only way you could ask for full release is if the government funds the work completely.

    Of course, you could ask to recoup seed funding out of proceeds, or whatever. I suppose you would do that out of tax on the company, eventually.

    I figure you can make good arguments for either side of this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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