Every year, the amount of electricity used by information and communications technology (ICT) equipment increases substantially. To power ICT equipment to serve telecommunications carriers, wireless operators, Internet providers and large data centers, electricity is converted from commercial alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). Unfortunately, the conversion process is highly inefficient, resulting in wasted electricity and the creation of heat that requires additional power for cooling.
The United States is the world’s largest consumer of electricity, and ICT facilities account for approximately 3 percent of the total. Virtually every federal, state and local energy program emphasizes conservation as the fastest, cheapest way to reduce consumption and avoid building new power plants with attending emissions and transmission concerns. Then, there is the phenomenal growth of the U.S. data center industry. It is projected to require two new large power plants per year just to keep pace with forecasted demand.
To address the ICT power consumption issue, Lineage Power Corp. and Verizon Communications announced a partnership in mid-January to conduct large-scale tests of two new technologies at five Verizon central offices to decrease the amount of electricity used by ICT equipment. The technologies being employed are part of Lineage’s Total Efficiency Architecture and involve the use of specially designed rectifiers and software that hopes increase the efficiency of the AC/DC conversion process to up to 97 percent. Lineage estimates that total efficiency architecture can save more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours annually by reducing power consumption and cooling costs within the estimated 23,000 telecom central offices across the country and in large data centers.
Driving the initiative, Lineage Power was recently awarded a $2.4 million U.S. Department of Energy research and development grant that will fund the design, engineering, removal and installation costs as well monitoring and research associated with the tests of the new technologies.