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Snippet of Article: http://www.elp.com/index/display/article-display.articles.Electric_Light_Power_Newsletter.enewsletter.Using_science__not_garlic__to_fight_energy_vampires/QP129867/cmpid=ELPENLOctober292010.html
Scientists collaborating on the project will apply their expertise and research to tunnel field effect transistors and semiconducting nanowires to improve the efficient use of energy in electronics.
To explain the challenge, consider a leaky water faucet — even after closing the valve as far as possible water continues to drip — this is similar to today’s transistor, in that energy is constantly “leaking” or being lost or wasted in the off-state.
In Steeper, scientists not only hope to contain the leak by using a new method to close the valve or gate of the transistor more tightly, but also open and close the gate for maximum current flow with less turns, i.e. less voltage for maximum efficiency.
According to the International Energy Agency, electronic devices currently account for 15 percent of household electricity consumption, and energy consumed by information and communications technologies as well as consumer electronics will double by 2022 and triple by 2030 to 1,700 TWh — this is equal to entire total residential electricity consumption of the in U.S. and Japan in 2009.
Particularly wasteful is the enormous amount of standby consumption. In the European Union it is estimated that standby power already accounts for about 10 percent of the electricity use in homes and offices of the member States.
By 2020 it is expected that electricity consumption in standby/off-mode will rise to 49 TWh per year — nearly equivalent to the annual electricity consumption for Austria, Czech Republic and Portugal combined.
“Our vision is to share this research to enable manufacturers to build the Holy Grail in electronics, a computer that utilizes negligible energy when it’s in sleep mode, which we call the zero-watt PC,” said Prof. Adrian M. Ionescu, Nanolab, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, who is coordinating the project.
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