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HP Unveils Ambitious Data Center Project, More Efficient Solar Energy System

hp_labs1.jpgHP’s research arm HP Labs has announced new sustainability research initiatives the company says will include an industry-first to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers by 75 percent; research to replace copper wiring in servers with laser light beams; and tools for measuring and managing the amount of energy used to develop products.

An average data center that consumes 5MW of electricity annually could power more than 4,300 homes in the United States for a year, the company says.

HP Labs’ Photonic Interconnect project, aimed at replacing copper-based electrical connections used in IT systems with optical laser communication links, will make it possible to fit hundreds of processors on server system chips, HP says, adding that the connections are 20-times more efficient than today’s connections and will save companies multiple gigawatts of power annually.

Another project, which will initially focus on the commercial printing and publishing industries, will involve the development of tools that can model, predict, measure and manage the carbon emissions, total energy usage and non-recoverable energy consumption of product manufacturing, supply chains and business processes, HP says.

HP Labs also announced plans to create an open online resource called a “sustainability hub,” to gather and share data and information about the sustainable design of products from researchers, scientists, engineers and academia from around the world. HP expects the hub to be available to the public in 2009.

In other HP news, solar energy system developer Xtreme Energetics (XE) and HP announced the development of a solar energy system designed to generate electricity at twice the efficiency and for half the cost of traditional solar panels.

Under an agreement with XE, HP will license its transparent transistor technology, produced with low-cost materials that raise no environmental concerns, to the solar developer.

A McKinsey & Company report released earlier this year calls for an immediate overhaul of corporate management practices and a doubling of the energy efficiency of large-scale corporate computing facilities by 2012.

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