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Looking to new technologies to improve the energy efficiency
of information technology and telecommunications, the U.S. Department of Energy
this week announced it will award $47 million for 14 projects across the
country to develop them.

The idea behind the move is that while data processing, storage and telecom
have become crucial parts of the U.S.
economy and have grown rapidly, the moves to make them more energy efficient
haven’t developed as quickly.

The Energy Department says the newly funded projects will reduce energy use and
carbon pollution.

“These Recovery Act projects will improve the efficiency of a strong and
growing sector of the American economy,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu,
in a prepared statement. “By reducing energy use and energy costs for the
IT and telecommunications industries, this funding will help create jobs and
ensure the sector remains competitive.”

The Energy Department said that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will
provide for funding for research, development and demonstration projects in the
following three areas:

Equipment and Software—projects will
focus on the core components of data centers or telecommunications centers,
such as servers and networking devices, as well as software to optimize
equipment energy use.

Power Supply Chain—projects will
develop technologies to minimize the power loss and heat generation that occur
as electricity moves through server-based IT and communications systems.

Cooling—projects will demonstrate
ways to cool equipment used in IT and telecommunications more effectively and
with less power than current methods.

The Energy Department said that private industry has put up more than $70
million to fund the projects for a total of more than $115 million.

Among the participating companies is Power Assure, based in Santa
Clara, Calif., which offers
monitoring software that tracks real-time data about power usage for optimizing
data center resources.

Power Assure tells Channel Insider that its channel partner program is
currently under development, and it will be recruiting solution provider
channel partners in the months ahead. Meanwhile, it has struck a deal with Dell
and is working with that computing company’s professional services arm.

Another company, Federspiel Controls, is developing a dynamic cooling system
that uses variable fan speeds, adjustable air inlets and wireless temperature
sensors to monitor and adjust temperatures. The company estimates conventional
static cooling systems now typically consume 25 percent of the energy used in a
data center.

Information technology and telecommunications facilities account for
approximately 120 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually—or 3 percent
of all U.S.
electricity use. Moreover, rapid growth in the U.S.
data center industry is projected to require two new large power plants per
year just to keep pace with the expected demand growth. Without gains in
efficiency, the industry would face increasing costs and greenhouse gas
emissions, along with challenges to the reliability of the electricity service.

Equipment & Software Projects

IBM T.J. Watson Research Center ($1.6
SeaMicro Inc. ($9.3 million)
Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs ($300,000)
California Institute of Technology ($300,000)

Power Supply Chain Projects

Lineage Power Corp. ($2.4 million)
BAE Systems ($222,000)
Power Assure Inc. ($5 million)
Hewlett-Packard Co. ($7.4 million)
Columbia University ($2.8 million)


IBM T.J. Watson Research Center ($2.3
Federspiel Controls Inc. ($584,000)
Yahoo Inc. ($9.9 million)
Alcatel-Lucent ($1.8 million)
Edison Materials Technology Center ($2.8 million)