Professor Leif Katsu Oxenløve presenting before Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition, Executive Vice-President and Chair of the Commissioners’ Group on a Europe Fit for the Digital Age

Fotonik professor to the EU: Bet on digitalization

Monday 06 Sep 21

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Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe
Professor, Group Leader
DTU Fotonik
+45 45 25 37 84

In this article, you get the exclusive possibility to read Professor Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe's talking points for his meeting with EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

On 2 September, Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, Professor at DTU Fotonik and leader of the DNRF Center of Excellence SPOC, had the chance to present before Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition, Executive Vice-President and Chair of the Commissioners’ Group on a Europe Fit for the Digital Age. Professor Oxenløwe's key message to the EU Commissioner was, that for Europe to become truly fit for the digital age, we have to start by making the internet itself - the infrastructure of the internet - sustainable. 

"This will enable a greener society and support several UN Sustainable Development Goals, incl. 4, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13."
Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, Professor, DTU Fotonik

Here are his talking points:

  • The next generation communications infrastructure must be sustainable, green and energy-efficient.  If not, we face the risk of having to double our energy budget percentage-wise for communications in 2030, from about 10% to 20% of all produced electricity.

  • For each kg of CO2 produced by fuelling the internet today, 1.5 kg of CO2 is saved elsewhere in society. By making communication processes more efficient, this CO2-efficiency factor is expected to grow to 10x.

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) as well as other consortia all agree that a successful strategy towards greener societies will rely
    heavily on expanded digitalization in support of smart cities, smart transport,
    smart buildings, smart lighting, and smarter communication itself.

    • For instance, the IEA estimates potential savings in energy demand of up to 60% in transport (responsible for 28% of total energy usage today), 10% in buildings (32% of all energy usage today), 20% for lighting, and an overall 15% reduction of greenhouse gasses (GHG), as well as a potential for reducing with up to 50% of the energy needed for communications itself (9% of total electricity usage today). These potential energy savings hinge critically on the pace of energy-efficiency improvements of the communication infrastructure.

      

  • Furthermore, in order to harvest the projected energy savings, the communication networks must have the abundant capacity to support new smart initiatives, be ubiquitous allowing critical accessibility everywhere, have the lowest possible latency enabling time-critical services like transport, be reliable and secure, and itself be increasingly energy-efficient. This will enable a greener society and support several UN Sustainable Development Goals, incl. 4, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
  • A major challenge to deliver the required green communication technologies is the demise of Moore’s Law, the trend describing how electronic chips developed into smaller, faster, more complex and more energy-efficient chips. Moore’s Law has been at the core of the evolution of computing and communication for the last 50 years, but physical limits to chip miniaturization have now stopped chip-scale progress, and we will need new core technologies within the next 2-3 years to avoid that the energy needed, to support the projected 30% annual internet traffic growth, grows unsustainable.

  • The SPOC Centre, funded by the DNRF, Danish National Research Foundation (Grundforskningsfonden), is working intently on developing novel technologies that carry more data at lower energy. For instance, SPOC has demonstrated that a single chip, made at DTU, can generate light enough to carry more than twice the total, global internet traffic. SPOC won the EU Horizon Prize on “Breaking the Optical Transmission Barrier” for this. 

    - Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, Professor at DTU Fotonik

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