Sustainablog

This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.

17.6.08

IBM and TOK team up on solar cells: big tech entities begin to realise that indeed, there is money to be made from clean energy sources


IBM and TOK team up on solar cells

Big Blue sky thinking with rising sun outfit

By Sylvie Barak: Monday, 16 June 2008, 1:04 PM

BY TEAMING UP with Japanese semiconductor outfit Tokyo Ohka Kogyo (TOK), IBM wants to let the sun shine in, or more accurately, come up with cheaper, more efficient solar power technology.

IBM and TOK's move is the latest bit of bandwagonning in the field, as big tech entities begin to realise that indeed, there is money to be made from clean energy sources. Especially from photovoltaic solar products which magically transform sunlight into electricity.

TOK has the tech (not just the talk) when it comes to LCD coating techniques and high purity chemicals, whereas IBM claim to be able to deliver on the cell-manufacturing know-how side of things, so all in all, the pair seem well suited to their goal of being able to increase solar panel efficiency by bettering solar modules.

Talking to Reuters, an IBM boffin in charge of the firm's photovoltaic activities, Supratik Guha, noted that, unlike other companies who were still chasing the solar silicon dream, IBM and TOK would instead be developing innovative ways of converting sunlight to electrical power through copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) cells, thought significantly more effective. Companies like Nanosolar, Global Solar Energy, Miasole, and Heliovolt are also focusing on CIGS cells rather than solar.

But neither IBM nor TOK, plan to get bogged down manufacturing the sunny cells themselves. Rather, they plan to develop the technology and then sell it off to solar companies in a few years time.

IBM is said to be aiming for a 15 per cent efficiency goal for low-cost solar cells. Guha gushed, "I think that if we can get to a module cost of less than $1 per watt, and be able to keep a handle on the system costs, then one should be able to get to grid parity". µ

16.6.08

A new survey on the relationship between IT and green initiatives found IT professionals take environmental concerns more seriously than their companies, but collaboration between IT and other departments is necessary for effective changes


IT Can Have Biggest Impact on Travel: Survey
By GreenerComputing Staff
Published June 13, 2008

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A new survey on the relationship between IT and green initiatives found IT professionals take environmental concerns more seriously than their companies, but collaboration between IT and other departments is necessary for effective changes.

Of the more than 1,400 IT professionals surveyed by research firm Freeform Dynamics, only eight percent said they have little or no knowledge of IT-related environmental issues.

The majority said they take environmental issues seriously and care about taking action, but few said their organizations take the same issues seriously. For companies with environmental initiatives, the main drivers are regulatory pressure, cost savings and public relations. Sales, genuine concern for the environment and pressure from shareholders and investors were identified as exerting the least pressure on green programs.

The survey identified areas where IT can provide cost and energy savings along with practices that are hindering green IT initiatives. IT can make the biggest impact by reducing commutes and travel by supporting telecommuting, teleconferencing and flexible working, but an effective program needs collaboration among IT, facilities and human relations departments.

Another area in which companies are lacking is with power use. The majority of IT departments are not accountable for their power use and do not have the ability to monitor all the power consumption necessary to truly evaluate where they can make power-saving decisions.