NEC and Tohoku University in Japan have jointly developed a pioneering technology that eliminates the need for standby power in ICT equipment such as personal computers and TV sets. This article introduces the new technology, which is expected to help save power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Households and factories are all trying to reduce power consumption, but one area that largely remains unaddressed is the standby power wasted by ICT equipment. Standby power is the energy used by ICT equipment even after it has been switched off because the power supply inside the equipment is still on. Not insignificant power savings can be achieved by systematically unplugging the power cord of ICT equipment when not in use.
However, frequently unplugging ICT equipment can be inconvenient. Taking the case of personal computers used in offices as an example, office workers who have to plug in and switch on their PC when they get to the office then have to wait for the OS to boot. Another example is that of DVD and Blu-ray disc recorders at home, whose long startup times can be a source of stress.
Faced with this kind of inconvenience, some people will favor faster startup times by not unplugging the power cord, even though they are aware that this causes standby power waste. In other words, it is difficult to achieve convenience and user-friendliness while promoting energy savings.
In fact in Japan, wasted standby power currently accounts for about 6% of total power consumption by households, with offices and factories thought to be wasting similar levels.
To solve this problem, NEC and Tohoku University have jointly developed a pioneering semiconductor technology that can completely eliminate the standby power requirement of system LSIs, which store data and carry out processing indispensable for the operation of a wide range of ICT equipment.
This revolutionary technology will contribute significantly to power savings and improve the global environment.