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    Electronics Update: New Semiconductors Could Improve Efficiency by Half

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Senior Editor

    Congratulations. If you’re reading this, you are among the 0.05% of the internet community that concerns itself with things like efficiency in computers and consumer electronics.

    And so you should—the tech industry is the fastest-growing electricity consumer in the nation right now, mostly because data centers for Google and Facebook are popping up across the nation. The problem, of course, is that most of that power is generated by pollution-spewing fossil fuel plants (coal or natural gas), and at this point, we’re trying to lower global warming-causing emissions here, not crank them up.

    So, Arctic Sand Technologies, a company formed by MIT grads, hopes to save power-hungry tech companies--and, eventually, consumers--some cash by gutting energy consumption in the first place. Its CEO, Nadia Shalaby told the MIT Technology Review that data centers suck down over $50 billion a year on electricity, and that Arctic Sand's “semiconductor technology improves the efficiency of DC-to-DC power converters, which are widely used in power management integrated circuits, by 50 percent.”

    The Herald Online outlines how the tech works:

    DC-to-DC power converters are the underlying building block of today's power management Integrated Circuits (ICs). Arctic Sand's patented TIP (Transformative Integrated Power Solutions) technology uses a unique approach for conversion, based on switch capacitive techniques. The technology facilitates the use of smaller inductive components, resulting in increased efficiency and an overall higher power density factor over and above today's competing technologies, delivering significant advantages in portable and data centre applications.

    The company has attracted nearly $10 million in VC cash, and will use it to develop more efficient circuitry for computers and mobile devices as well.

    As much as we need sprawling new wind farms and rooftops lined with solar arrays, we need tech like this, that cuts down on energy use in the first place.