The Green Enterprise: Intel
Smart Planet looks at how Intel is developing green technologies for its customers and within its own organization. Innovations include ultra-lower power 45nm chips, greening its fab operations in China, Arizona and Israel; and developing non-toxic materials for packaging and designing its chips. Kanellos also sits down with Lorie Wigle, Intel's eco-tech program office general manager and discusses the chipmaker's sustainability strategy and her views on reducing power inside the datacenter.
RE: The Green Enterprise: Intel
I invented a CPU cooler - 3 times better than best - better than
water. Intel have major CPU cooling problems - "Intel's
microprocessors were generating so much heat that they were
melting" (iht.com) - try to talk to them - they send my
communications to my competitor & will not talk to me.
Winners of major 'Corporate Social Responsibility' awardS!!!
When did RICO get repealed?"
INVENTORS - DO NOT TRUST INTEL!!!
BTW, I have the evidence - my competitor gave it to me.
BBTW, I am prepared to apologise to Intel if;
? They can show that the actions were those of a single
individual in the company, acting outside corporate policy, and:
? They gain redress on my behalf.
Although playing a major role in it's facilitation, the power of the
internet appears to have come as much a surprise to Intel as it
has to the catholic church.
Inventors - help your fellow inventors - share your experiences
with companies - good and bad.
DELETING THIS POST WOULD BE AGAINST THE INTEREST
OF INVENTORS - WHO ARE TRYING TO SOLVE THE MANY
PROBLEMS ON THIS PLANET.
I ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR VERACITY OF ABOVE.
COMPLAINTS - FORWARD TO STUART21 AT MAC.COM
APOLOGIES FROM INTEL - FORWARD ALSO TO STUART21 -
BUT QUICKLY! I CAN'T HOLD MY BREATH MUCH LONGER!!
Michael Kanellos: Hello, this is Michael Kanellos reporting for ZDNet. About 40 years ago two disgruntled engineers decided to leave their jobs and start a new company. They were Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, and the company they founded, Intel, has been one of the most pervasive and influential companies in tech ever since.
Now, Intel has got a new challenge in front of it, and that is to reduce the amount of power consumed by the world's computers. We are going to see what they are doing today on the Green Enterprise.
Michael: From eliminating the use of toxic materials and its products, building eco friendly chip plants, Intel is hard at work on green strategies to make the company more sustainable. We will take an up-close look at the company's operations and see some of the technologies in action.
But, first, meet Lorie Wigle. She is the General Manager of Intel's Eco Technology Program office and is also the President of Climate Savers, a non profit group set up to promote the deployment of green ideas and technology.
Well, Lorie, thank you for your time today.
Lorie Wigle: Hey, I am really happy to be here.
Michael: I was wondering, can you give us an overview of Intel's green strategy?
Lorie: First of all, we actually call it Eco Technology. What we mean by that is the sustainable manufacturing and use of our products. We look across four areas for that. The first one is sustainable manufacturing i.e., what do we do in our fabs obviously, that is a very, very big piece of our business.
The second thing we look at is energy efficient performance of our products. The third thing that we look at is design for the environment. So, how can we from the very inception of the products design them so that they both perform And then, retire gracefully, if you want to think about it that way at the end of life.
Michael: The e-waste problem.
Lorie: Exactly. And then, the fourth area is what can we do in terms of engaging the industry as well as regulators or people who are setting policy.
Michael: Now, when people look at sometimes green issues by large corporations, they look it at green washing. They think it is just a big publicity stunt. It really doesn't add to the bottom line. To be devil's advocate for a moment, does this add to your bottom line?
Lorie: We have been concerned about the environment in our operations long before green became the latest hip trend to follow. Gordon Moore, who is one of the founders of Intel, is a strong environmentalist, and he really incorporated that ethos in the company from the outset. That's been part of how we do business, generally.
Then, if you think about the second category I talked about, energy efficient performance, delivering there absolutely contributes to the bottom line because that's really important to our customers.
Michael: Think of a big data center for a moment. We are seeing data centers with hundreds of thousands of servers that are just massive. Where is the energy being saved? Is it the processor, or is it the design of the data centers or the design of the servers?
Lorie: Actually, energy savings from the data center need to be look at from all levels. If you look at a typical data center today that hasn't been optimized, only about half of the power is actually going to the IT equipment. The rest of it is being used to cool the facility, power the facility, and so on.
One of the things that Intel is working on with other members of the industry is, first of all, how do you measure that because if you are not measuring it, you are not going to approve it. So, there is an industry organization called the Green Grid that Intel is a founding member of, and we are focused in that group on how do you measure the overall efficiency of a data center.
Then, within the facility you can look at the cooling and the air flow management of the facility. You can look at the energy efficiency of individual pieces of equipment, certainly at the server level storage, networking and so on. And even within a server you can look at how efficient is that particular computer in converting power, and that's something another industry organization that we are a part of, Climate Savers Computing, is focused on, just on power conversion efficiency.
Michael: Looking toward the future a bit then, the presidential election is coming up, and everyone is talking about carbon cap and trade. Does it look inevitable that we'll have some sort of carbon market in the U.S? There is already one in Europe, and what could that do to the IT industry?
Lorie: One of the reasons that we have been interested in this project that we're doing with the data center is to look at whether or not a particularly energy efficient design in addition or instead of qualifying for dollar incentives might qualify for carbon incentives.
The other thing that I find in my work with my other hat on, I also work a lot with Climate Savers Computing Initiative. And one of the things that we do with Climate Savers Computing Initiative is that we ask companies to make a commitment to buy more energy efficient computers and to deploy power management in their organizations. As they are doing that, one of the things that companies are starting to care about is not just the dollars they are saving, but the carbon they are eliminating because they have taken carbon goals.
So, it's not quite carbon cap and trade, but if they weren't reducing their IT carbon footprint they would be buying more offsets. We can actually reduce their offset budget by showing them how they can reduce the carbon footprint from their IT operation.
Michael: Well, Lorie, thank you very much for your time.
Lorie: It was my pleasure, and I hope you enjoy your visit to Intel.
Michael: To get a better idea of what is going on at Intel, we took a tour of some of the projects they are working on. For instance, the company is coming out with a whole line of ultra low power chips for notebooks and phones.
Michael: I am with Mooly Eden, Vice President of the Mobile Platforms Group at Intel. Mooly, what have you got for us today?
Mooly Eden: What we have here are three state of the art notebooks that are utilizing our new Centrino processor technology. The reason I use these notebooks to demonstrate it is because they are power efficient.
Michael: Now, how many hours of battery life can this notebook get?
Mooly: This notebook is at around six hours or so. And I believe we see that quite a few notebooks that we are going to introduce in the near future will be able to run between four to six hours, and even more.
Michael: Now, how did you do this? Is it mostly through the transistors, like you having them switch on and off quicker? Or is it through the chipset or the whole design of the system?
Mooly: I believe the right thing to say is the whole design of the system. It has to do with the microprocessor design, it has to do with the chipset, it has to do with the rest of the system, and it has to do with the software that they're using on the system.
Let me elaborate on each one of them. The microprocessor, the brain, of the notebook actually what we tried to do is design it such a way, using a new technology the 45nm hafnium transistors. They have got very low leakage, so we can put many of those on one chip.
The chipset that the work and wisdom microprocessor actually having the handshake to make sure that when one of the component can go into a low power mode, the other component assisted to do it.
We've got the overall system, which is the voltage regulator, the power supplies, the screen-all those components that used to consume a lot of power will work with the ecosystem to help this component as a low-power and definitely went into the software which is mobile-aware or power-friendly.
Michael: Now, we have also a notebook here from Toshiba. Can you tell us a bit about that one and what makes it different?
Mooly: Yes, again, I can tell you but it would be much more interesting if you can hold it and feel how light it is.
Michael: Oh, yeah...
Mooly: But, again, it's using the same technology it's using the C2 technology in order to enable a very thin notebook. Here on the screen we have an infrared shot of the microprocessor showing how we are utilizing only part of the microprocessor when we need them and we put the rest of them to sleep.
Mooly: So, actually, another example of the notebook that it's using, utilizing our new technology.
Michael: You can see like the workload actually shifting around on that dye.
Mooly: Sure, sure. And when I'm working with two cores, you can see actually the load is moving from one core to another core. So, you can see it is the infrared because this is simply the way that it dissipates the heat.
Michael: In its facilities around the world, Intel is designing its building so it can dramatically reduce the amount of water and electricity the company consumes. For example, in Dalian, China at Intel's Fab 68, the company is recovering waste heat from the plant's chillers which are used to cool water. That extra heat is then used to make hot water, which reduces the need to build boilers.
To hear more about how Intel is greening its chip manufacturing plant, we caught up with Todd Brady, the company's corporate environmental manager. He's part of the Intel team responsible for greening the company's fab operations.
Michael: Let's talk about fabs for a moment. Fabs are the big factories where you make your chips. They cover lots of square footage. You need million of gallons of water a year. What do you really do there?
Todd Brady: Well, there's quite a bit you can do. Let me take, for example, our fab in Arizona, which is in a very arid region, not a lot of water. And so we do several things.
One, any water that we use in our fab is ultra-pure water, very clean water. We take that water and after we use it in our fab, we reuse it in our facilities operations. The water that's used in the fab then comes back out and it's used in our cooling towers, it's used in our scrubbers, it's used in other facilities' operations that are there.
Another thing that we do is we actually take that water, clean it to a very clean level drinking water standards and reinject it back into the aquifer. So, we replenish the aquifer from which the water came from the first place.
Michael: Having electricity... You have a lot of robots there. You've got to keep the power going; you've got a lot of machinery.
Todd: Absolutely. Energy conservation's another big deal for us. Not only in terms of the environmental impact, but costs, as you mentioned; electricity cost can be very high in a factory. So, as a result, we have various steps that we take.
One is we have a dedicated energy conservation team and conservation fund that funds projects that are brought forward by our facilities, our process engineers and other folks within Intel who come forward with ideas on what they can do to save money.
Michael: And you've also got a new design center in Haifa.
Todd: That will be Intel's first facility that was designed from the ground up for Lee, the US building counsel standard for green buildings. And that building is designed to use natural light. It's designed to collect rainwater and then, reuse that for irrigation around the facility. Just many, many designs built into that to be very energy-efficient and efficient use of water and other resources.
Michael: In addition to making the fabs more efficient, Intel is also looking at ways of taking out lead and other dangerous chemicals out of the products they sell.
Michael: Let's talk about packaging for a moment.
Michael: The Unsung Hero of the semi-conductor world, every chip needs a package, but no one really talks about it that much. You're taking a lot of chemicals out of it?
Todd: That's right; with our 45nm process we've made two big announcements. The first one is our lead-free packaging. So, over the past seven, eight years we've been working on reducing the amount of lead in our packaging. With 45nm we go to complete lead-free package.
And so, what's innovative really about the 45nm, we've taken out the lead also in what we call the flip chip application, which is the connection between the dye and the substrate; which is very tricky. That application that requires certain mechanical properties to make sure that that joint sticks and that it's flexible and it meets the various soldering hierarchies.
Michael: Yeah, it's almost like contacts on top of the package.
Todd: That's right and it's very critical. And that's one that we spent quite a years of R&D on and we're pretty proud of rolling that out with our 45nm package.
Michael: Does it add cost?
Todd: No, it's cost neutral.
Michael: What about halogen?
Todd: What halogen is focused on is removing certain flame retardants in our products. These are what are called halogenated flame retardants. And that family of flame retardants, certain flame retardants have been found to have concerns associated with them. And, so, we're proactively going and removing those across our product line.
Michael: Were there chemicals out there that could do the same job that nobody used or did it have to be developed?
Todd: Some new chemicals had to be developed. In this case, we're actually using a metal hydroxide compound, which is intrinsically non-toxic, non-harmful to the environment.
Michael: As you just seen, Intel's developing a host of technologies to both clean up its operations as well as change the products it makes.
Stay tuned; in the coming weeks we're going to show you other organizations that re learning how to green the enterprise.