DOE seeks higher communications IT

The Energy Department is taking steps to spur research and development into more energy-efficient information and communications technologies.

DOE is also interested in field testing and independently validating the energy performance of technologies that show the potential to improve energy efficiency while not compromising data center or telecommunication reliability.

To that end, the agency this month will issue a funding opportunity entitled “Information and Communication Facility Energy Efficiency,” according to an agency special notice.

DOE officials are looking for proposals in two areas: technologies that increase the energy efficiency of server-based information and communication systems, and pre-commercial technologies that can be field-tested. Each proposal must address only one of these areas of interest, the notice states.

In the area of information and communications, DOE is looking for research-and-development proposals related to equipment hardware and software, cooling, and power-supply efficiency.

Because computing hardware and software — the functioning components of server-based data and telecommunications centers — determine power and cooling requirements, a key theme of work in this area is the minimization of heat generation. As a result, DOE is looking for the development of novel systems that generate less heat through new electronic circuitry or by the use of optics only.

The cooling of server-based telephone central offices and data centers can be made more energy efficient by the creation of advanced component level cooling technologies.

The R&D proposals for power-supply energy efficiency may address areas such as the development of high-efficiency power conversion circuits and special purpose chips.

Each R&D project will be funded for a maximum of three years, with one or more budget periods.

As far as field-testing innovative products, DOE will work with demonstration sites that will serve as early adopters of the technologies. The sites must be willing to share information about the cost-benefit results of the field-tested technology projects to encourage more rapid market acceptance. “DOE will work with the demonstration teams to develop case studies of the technology projects using measured and verified results so as to reduce market and technology risk,” the special notice states.

The applicants must show a plan for the technologies to be demonstrated and the adoption of other best energy-management practices to improve a data and telecommunication center’s energy intensity performance by more than 25 percent and have a Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency of 0.80 or greater, according to the DOE.

The funding opportunity (FOA) will be issued by DOE’s Golden Field Office on behalf of the agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Industrial Technologies Program.

The FOA will be available for viewing at Grants.gov and at the DOE’s Industry Interactive Procurement System.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to register at these sites to receive notification of announcements posted by DOE Golden Field Office. When the FOA is released, applications will only be received through Grants.gov.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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