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EU group aims to cut standby power losses

Posted: 03 Nov 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consortium  standby power  tunnel FETs 

The European Union through the Steep consortium will focus on reducing standby power for electronic devices and eliminate standby power for electronic devices, which is estimated to account for 10 per cent of European energy use.

The European Union estimates that standby power for electronic devices—"vampire power"—already accounts for over 10 per cent of the electricity used in homes and offices across Europe. This figure is expected to reach 49TW hours by 2014 from over 200 crore computers in sleep mode, equivalent to the combined electricity consumption of Austria, the Czech Republic and Portugal. Also, energy consumption by information, communications and CE will double by 2022 and triple by 2030, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Thus, the EU is funding the Steep programme to reduce active power by 10x as well as drive vampire power into extinction. The solution they are investigating is the shift from traditional MOSFETs used by CMOS to a new kind of reverse biased transistor called a tunnel FET (T-FET).

Researchers make the analogy of the T-FETs as nanoscale stakes that will drive through the heart of "vampire power," vanquishing standby energy consumption.

T-FET base chips can replace any CMOS chip in use today, from cell phones to supercomputers, and cut the power bill for homes and businesses and extend battery life of mobile devices.

The programme will combine the efforts of IBM Research Zurich, Infineon Technologies AG and GlobalFoundries Inc., along with CEA-LETI (Grenoble, France), Forschungszentrum J�lich (Germany) and the University of Bologna, University of Dortmund, University of Udine and the University of Pisa. It will be supervised by France's Ecole Polytechnique F�d�rale de Lausanne.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times





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