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Singapore takes R&D initiatives to green its electronics

Posted: 11 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Singapore? EDB? energy harvesting? R&D? LED?

The demand for environmentally-friendly products and energy efficient solutions is increasing because of rising awareness of climate change. This has given rise to various R&D initiatives to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services.

Singapore's electronics industry, a key pillar of the city-state's manufacturing sector, is prepositioning itself to tap on opportunities in green technologies such as energy harvesting, power management, green lighting and printed electronics. We see green electronics as an exciting, innovation-intensive growth area that builds upon Singapore's existing electronics capabilities in IC design, wafer fabrication, and LED manufacturing.

Much of the electronics industry's growth was fueled by innovations in IC design and IC manufacturing technology. These innovations helped to grow the semiconductor industry into a $300 billion industry in fifty years.

However, the pervasiveness of electronics in nearly every aspect of our lives places greater opportunity for and responsibility on the electronics industry to be energy efficient.

Collaborative research
Recognising this, VIRTUS, Singapore's IC Design Centre of Excellence, is establishing joint collaborations with universities, research institutions and companies to develop power management and energy harvesting technologies, which are critical elements for power optimization and higher energy efficiency in electronic devices.

One such project is an energy-aware design for wireless applications. By dynamically adjusting the performance of the receiver circuit according to the received signal strength and combining it with electromagnetic energy harvesters, VIRTUS successfully implemented an energy-aware receiver front-end for low-power, low-data-rate applications in the 2.4GHz ISM band.

Other research projects in VIRTUS include sub-threshold SRAM, sub-threshold circuit optimization, probabilistic CMOS design, low power true single phase clock prescalers, and energy efficient sensors for wide body area networks.

Solid-state lighting
A green electronics technology that is gaining acceptance in today's increasingly urbanized world is solid state lighting (SSL). Artificial lighting consumes about 19 percent of the electricity produced globally, and this accounts for approximately 1,900Mt of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Replacing incandescent lamps with SSL could potentially reduce energy consumption for lighting by 50 percent.

This is especially important for urban cities such as Singapore. The Singapore Government is aiming for a 35-percent overall improvement in energy efficiency from 2005 levels by 2030.

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