Latest Research Activities Underway for Greener Electronics

Digitalization is swiftly penetrating both everyday life and the work environment—a trend unlikely to slow down in the foreseeable future, according to Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics. In this context, digitization can play a significant role in saving energy and thus reducing CO2 emissions in numerous areas by means of intelligent control of devices, systems, processes and networks. Contrariwise, as sensors, electronics and artificial intelligence (AI) become more prevalent, energy consumption will itself increase due to digital technologies.

Sabine Scherbaum at Fraunhofer EMFT, shares the latest information on Green ICT and research activities underway in Germany for greener electronics.

What is Green ICT?

The Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD) established “Green ICT @ FMD” for the implementation of the Green ICT Mission of the Federal Government. Launched in August 2022, Green ICT is a competence center for resource-conscious information and communication technology. The goal is to support resource conservation and reduction of the CO2 footprint in the further development of information and communication technology (ICT) applications and infrastructures.

Below is the vision and unique selling proposition (USP):

  • Vision: FMD offers Green ICT technologies and cross-technology Green ICT overall solutions up to a high level of technological maturity from a single source for partners in industry and science; value propositions for industry, for users of ICT systems, as well as for politics and science.
  • USP: FMD offers a unique opportunity, on the one hand, to take a comprehensive systemic view and further development of Green ICT issues with its partner network. On the other hand, to create the necessary technical depth in the overall system view with its technology competencies.

With the GreenICT@FMD competence center, the FMD is being expanded to create a central point of contact for Green ICT.

Three topic-specific hubs provide dedicated testbeds for Green ICT:

  1. Sensor edge cloud systems
  2. Energy-saving communication infrastructures
  3. Resource-optimized electronics production

In hub 3, resource-optimized electronics production, EMFT is working on a system model for the ecological evaluation of metallization processes on flexible substrates, as can be used in the production of chip cards. In validation projects, newly developed solutions are tested with industrial partners.

How is Green ICT initiating a paradigm shift?

Green ICT is securing skilled labor, attracting young talent and supporting start-ups. The work of the competence center is not limited to technological research, but also attempts to initiate a paradigm shift.

This includes the following accompanying measures:

  • The Green ICT Camp: Inspires, sensitizes and networks young students in the field of sustainable and safe microelectronics.
  • Further training programs for specialists: Support in-depth specialist training for experts urgently needed in science and industry.
  • Promotion of the early motivation of start-ups and SMEs: For resource-saving product development, including the development of suitable development paths.

For this, a student academy and further training courses are being established, specifically targeting startups.

In closing, increasing digitalization represents both an opportunity and a challenge for climate and resource conservation. While the intelligent control of devices, systems, processes and networks makes a significant contribution to energy savings in many areas, the increasing spread of ICT continues to increase energy and resource consumption. In order to reduce environmental pollution, a significant change is also necessary in micro- and power electronics, both in design and in manufacturing processes.

Do you want more insights on card trends?

For more than 30 years, ICMA has represented the interests of the card manufacturing industry—which includes manufacturers, personalizers, issuers and suppliers—as its leading global association.

In response to consumer and card issuer demand for green transaction and identification cards, the ICMA EcoLabel Standard Program provides a determination of the environmental performance of a manufacturer’s cards through a third-party ecolabeling certification program. Manufacturers can become EcoLabel Program licensees to showcase their support of sustainability initiatives. Licensees can also offer clients a valuable EcoLabel opportunity for cards that meet established criteria in the following categories: reduced materials, recycled content, compostable and biobased content.

Throughout the year, ICMA members have the opportunity to share insights and knowledge by giving presentations during ICMA webcasts and events. The association’s main event is its annual Card Manufacturing & Personalization EXPO. The 2024 EXPO will take place from May 13-16 in Orlando, Florida.

ICMA offers regular educational opportunities, including ACE-Manufacturing, ACE-Personalization and ACE-Advanced Technologies training and exams at the ICMA EXPO. ICMA also offers ACE-Commercial training, which provides sales, marketing, customer service and other key personnel at ICMA member companies with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of card manufacturing.

Learn more about the benefits of ICMA membership.