By Alán Aspuru-Guzik
What if you could capture and convert sunlight into electricity with a material as inexpensive, versatile and easy to produce as the one used for plastic bags? What if a liquid version of this material could be used to coat surfaces for solar energy production? What if these materials were light enough and thin enough for use in portable devices? And finally, what if these materials were so inexpensive that they could help provide electricity to people in the developing world and others without access to power grids?
Organic solar cells offer us the potential to realize these highly desirable outcomes. With that in mind, we launched the Clean Energy Project at Harvard to discover suitable materials from which to develop devices for generating electricity from sunlight. The Clean Energy Project uses massive amounts of computing power to screen an unprecedented number of organic compounds in an attempt to identify potential high-performance materials.
By Vince Ward
What started out as a community-based energy project on the Isle of Wight has morphed into a bona fide social movement.
Encouraged by the work of IBM Distinguished Engineer, Andy Stanford-Clark, who created a “smart” house that monitored, managed and optimized energy use, three years ago the Village of Chale created the Chale Community Project, which seeks, among other things, to reduce home energy costs by up to 50 percent. While the project has indeed raised awareness and helped residents lower costs, it has also had a serendipitous outcome – it has brought the community together.
From the very beginning of the Chale Community Project – during planning and roll-out phases – we worked on ensuring the local community was on board. Going from door to door, the team would communicate with residents about the plan of action, encourage participation and try to boost morale. Continue Reading »
By Mike Ray
It started 40 years ago, before it was trendy or being taught in business school.
Thomas J. Watson, Jr., IBM Chairman at the time, said: “We accept our responsibilities as a corporate citizen in community, national and world affairs; we serve our interests best when we serve the public interest…We want to be in the forefront of those companies which are working to make our world a better place.” That was 1969.
IBM’s values shape and define our company and permeate all of our relationships; between our employees and our shareholders, our clients, the communities where our employees live and work, and among our network of suppliers. Continue Reading »
By Richard Dicks
Today, businesses are making enormous investments in Big Data and analytics to secure new customers, enhance existing client relationships and gain a competitive advantage. Worldwide, the trend is accelerating rapidly.
What you may not know, is that many organizations are turning certified refurbished IT equipment to make it all happen. Refurbished equipment is a cost-efficient and often environmentally beneficial solution to meeting the growing demand for mined data. In fact, according to research firm IDC, up to 70 percent of companies have purchased used, reconditioned equipment in the past two years.1
The facts are clear. Refurbished machines extend the life of older IT equipment that otherwise would require disposal; they serve as an affordable alternative to new equipment; and, they can help a company improve its business case to acquire much-needed analytics solutions that will help them make better decisions and grow. Continue Reading »
By Terry F. Yosie
Environmental issues are big, thorny problems. Scarcities in water, food and raw materials are too complex for any single company or non-governmental organization to solve on its own. In order to make a difference, it’s necessary to collaborate with like-minded partners to achieve shared goals.
Collaboration is a normal feature of customer-supplier relationships, government-business partnerships and initiatives with universities and other partners. It’s also typical for organizations looking for new business models that can sustain profitability while addressing societal needs, natural resource management, product and service innovation, and differentiation of brand value, to name a few. Collaboration can spur organizations to redefine their business purpose by utilizing society as another kind of R&D lab for innovation. Continue Reading »
By George Elliott, P. Eng.
In the city of Cambridge, Ontario, we’ve always taken pride in our long and proud tradition of delivering quality services to our citizens with the bottom line in mind. We know that with a growing city, our infrastructure needs are also growing. In these hard economic times, we wanted to address funding gaps through efficiencies and limit the impact on taxes. We looked for ways to give us more analytical ability to refine and enhance our systems and gain greater return on investment.
Given the aging physical infrastructure challenges that all Canadian municipalities are facing, we needed to better understand the competing priorities, and look to refine ways we address our infrastructure to avoid costly repairs.
By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications
Robert Waymouth, Ph.D., maintains the sense of awe that he’s had since his earliest days as a chemist, savoring those “marvelous moments where it just takes your breath away, you can’t believe something worked like that.”
Waymouth, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University, had one such moment in 2004 when he and his grad students discovered a new way to make molecules using organic catalysts. That breakthrough, followed by years of research with colleague Jim Hedrick at IBM Research in Almaden, Calif., has yielded a process to make environmentally sustainable plastics that could lead to smarter recycling methods, a drastic reduction in plastics pollution and even a safer, more efficient way to administer drugs.
Continue Reading »
By Andrew Hoffman and Terry F. Yosie
The students of today are the business leaders of tomorrow. It’s important for them to understand how to solve the big, vexing problems that impact the quality of life for current and future generations.
With that in mind, the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, together with the World Environment Center, have announced a partnership to get graduate students involved in planning and implementing sustainable development initiatives while working with leading global companies.
The program, which will be called the Erb/WEC Fellowships, will be supported by IBM as part of the company’s long-term commitment to environmental sustainability and developing next-generation skills for the 21st century workforce. IBM was recently recognized for the second consecutive year as the greenest company in the U.S., according to the Newsweek 2012 Green Rankings survey, and the company is working with WEC and other companies to solve major sustainability challenges.
By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications
Every time you walk into a building, think about this: it’s alive and kicking and wants to be fed.
It’s not just some static structure standing there. As Dave Bartlett, vice president of smarter buildings at IBM, sees it, a building is remarkably analogous to a living organism.
The heating and cooling system is also the building’s respiratory system, bringing in fresh air and removing carbon dioxide. It consumes enormous amounts of energy and water along with producing the associated waste.
The musculoskeletal system provides form, support, stability and movement to the building. Sensors, computer monitoring and other instrumentation make up the building’s nervous system.
By David Lee
Internal combustion engines fueled by petroleum continue to power the vast majority of vehicles around the world and continue to produce the largest percentage of CO2 from the transportation sector.
Since transportation is one of the largest sectors in Europe, it’s no wonder the mission of the European Green Cars Initiative is to support research and development on technologies that help advance such things as renewable, non-polluting energy, transportation safety, and traffic flow. In other words, the group’s objective is to help create a smarter, greener, integrated transport system.
As part of this effort is a campaign to increase the number of electric cars on our roads.