Intel locates global Energy and Sustainability Lab in Ireland

14 Oct 2011

Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner, EU Innovation Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn and Intel Ireland general manager Eamonn Sinnott

Intel has located its new Energy and Sustainability Lab at the major Intel campus in Leixlip. The lab will drive Intel’s research agenda in the application of information technologies to enable a ‘High Tech, Low Carbon’ economy with strong alignment to the EU 2020 sustainability goals.

The new lab was announced yesterday by Intel’s chief technology officer Justin Rattner and Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny during the annual Intel European Research and Innovation conference taking place this week at the Leixlip campus.

The new Energy and Sustainability Lab (ESL) initiative has an extensive research portfolio leveraging a growing ecosystem of academic and industrial partners in Europe and beyond.

The announcement came after both the Taoiseach and EU Innovation Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn had delivered keynote addresses to the conference delegates, in which both underpinned the vital role of research and innovation.

“Europe’s future depends on competitive industries that are able to grow and create jobs. This means investing in research and in new technologies and in creating a climate that boosts innovation. We are facing an innovation emergency. We need much more innovation in Europe, and we need it fast,” said.Geoghegan-Quinn.

Kenny added: “Innovation, research and development are key components of recovery and Intel is leading the way in these fields, delivering breakthroughs that will transform hundreds of millions of lives of people across the planet”.

Martin Curley, who is director of Intel Labs Europe, was also present at the event and in speaking about the announcement of the new lab said: “Energy and sustainability are two of the biggest challenges in our world today – we are delighted to be leading the research to solve these major challenges from Europe. We have helped create a new nascent ecosystem for accelerating our collective progress towards achieving a goal of a much more sustainable and energy-efficient society”.

Ground-breaking research into energy

One of the focus areas of the Energy and Sustainability Lab is the ‘Personal Energy Management’ research programme, which drives ground-breaking research into energy management solutions for future smart grids with a strong emphasis on citizen inclusion.

Intel has already spearheaded a number of local energy collaborations, including the ESB eCars programme, which involves researching the integration and optimisation of electric vehicles into Ireland’s energy system, maximising the renewable energy usage.

Another collaboration is the Wireless Energy Sensing Technology (WEST), a plug-in device that monitors the energy usage in the home and provides information required to smartly manage energy usage.

Intel has also collaborated with the Personal Office Energy Manager (POEM) initiative, which provides office users with a holistic, visual and numeric representation of the amount of energy an individual is consuming in addition to providing IT and plug load power to building management systems. The Intel ESL will begin piloting POEM in November with a large French utility company.

Friends of the supergrid

In conjunction with the announcement of the new Energy and Sustainability Lab, Intel also announced this week membership to ‘The Friends of the Supergrid (FOSG)’ group of companies focused on creating the European Electrical supergrid, an electricity transmission system, mainly based on direct current, designed to facilitate large-scale sustainable power generation in remote areas for transmission to centres of consumption.

The European Research and Innovation Conference formed part of an overall Intel Technology Week Europe, which also included the Research@Intel Technology showcase event.

Both Kenny and Geoghegan-Quinn had the opportunity to visit the showcase and interact with live demonstrations of research, development and innovation from areas such as many-core architectures in action, energy research to promote sustainability through technology and retail and automotive examples of embedded intelligence.

Intel ESL is a key participant in the Sustainable Electrical Energy Systems research consortium at University College Dublin and the ITOBO SFI research cluster for smart and energy-efficient buildings based in University College Cork.

The ESL is also a key research collaborator with the Fraunhofer Institute (Germany), KEMA (Netherlands) and VTT (Finland) on the EU Framework 7 REViSITE research project defining the EU ICT for Energy Efficiency research road map for Europe.

Intel ESL also recently announced the ‘Sustainable Cities’ research programme; a partnership with Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City Council, leading to pilot deployments of Sustainable City Technologies, including a prototype ambient intelligence sensing platform.

The lab is a key partner in the SmartBay project, lead by the Irish Marine Institute. SmartBay is a test and demonstration research infrastructure which is a foundation platform for an emerging ocean technologies cluster.

The lab is actively partnering with the IDA-sponsored I2E2 technology centre to apply energy efficiency to manufacturing in Ireland, for example, Intel ESL has redesigned an existing data centre on the Intel Ireland campus to leverage ambient air cooling and other techniques with projected energy savings of 20pc annually.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years