Climate technology & energy use.

  • Mini-cogeneration plants produce 200 metric tons less CO2 than a traditional energy mix.
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  • Load-adaptive operation reduces IT system energy consumption at the workstation by up to 23 percent.
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Data centers produce a lot of heat and need to be cooled. Some 40 percent of the energy used by data centers is used for cooling. Energy-efficient climate technology offers considerable energy savings potential through increased use of fresh-air cooling instead of compressor cooling, which uses a lot of electricity. Within the scope of our CR action area "Low carbon society," Deutsche Telekom, and particularly T-Systems, conducts intensive research and development in order to optimize data center infrastructures in consideration of financial and ecological aspects. The Group subsidiary Power and Air Condition Solution Management GmbH & Co. KG (PASM) is our partner in many of these projects.

Heat Power Business project.

In December 2012, PASM (Power and Air Condition Solution Management GmbH) launched the Heat Power Business innovation project. In this project, we are operating ten mini-cogeneration plants with capacities of between 4.5 and 50 kW at network nodes being used by different parties. The cogeneration plants are highly efficient and environmentally friendly. For example, the waste heat they produce is used to heat the building. That makes it possible to use more than 80 percent of the total primary energy employed. In 2012, these local mini-cogenerators generated around 1,500 MWh of electricity and around 2,500 MWh of heat. Compared to the energy mix available in the power grid, that means a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 200 metric tons for 2012. In order to precisely determine the consumption and emissions values of mobile providers that use our systems we analyzed all of the network nodes used by them in terms of the employed cogeneration plants as part of the project in 2012. We are using the results from the pilot plants to plan and build more than ten additional cogeneration plants.

Other energy-efficiency programs.
In 2012, PASM introduced other programs to increase energy efficiency in facility management. These include upgrading inefficient air conditioning in Telekom buildings. PASM also set up an additional six cogeneration plants with an output of between 50 and 250 kW. As part of an "integral planning" approach, PASM made an agreement with the service provider, STRABAG-PFS, in 2012 for systematic energy management processes to provide access to innovative, efficient power solutions in complex new building projects. PASM itself was certified by the TÜV technical services company in May 2012 under the ISO 50001 standard for energy-efficient management systems.

Objectives for 2013.
PASM is planning to conduct a number of energy optimization projects in 2013. For example, the company will adjust and optimize its energy management structures by assigning new responsibilities, including its service departments, and through more effective innovation management as part of its collaboration with the service provider, STRABAG. PASM is also planning to optimize existing split-air conditioning systems and to switch some of these over to fresh-air cooling systems. Split-air conditioning systems are comprised of at least two units, an external and an internal unit, that use the temperature difference between the air inside and outside the building to save energy.

PASM's plans also include introducing load management systems to reduce peak loads with particularly high energy demands from consumers and businesses. These peak loads put a strain on power grids and lead to price increases on the deregulated energy market. Our goal is to use low-priced electricity in phases of low demand instead of purchasing power in peak-load phases when costs are high. That calls for high-performing energy storage units as well as technology to control energy demand. In collaboration with the energy provider, Vattenfall, PASM is planning to integrate effective storage units into virtual power plants. With these efforts we are contributing significantly to stabilizing future power grids and reducing our procurement costs as well.

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Developing and implementing efficient energy and climate technology for data centers is a central component of the portfolio offered by PASM, a Telekom subsidiary. PASM creates and markets complete energy solutions for technical systems for corporate customers, especially for companies from the information and telecommunications industry. The company is dedicated to constantly improving the energy efficiency of its products, "uninterrupted power supply" and "air conditioning for network nodes", which are designed for 24-hour availability.

Its products are used by Telekom in its fixed network and data centers in Germany. PASM also provides energy to around 20,000 base stations in Telekom's mobile communications network in Germany. As a co-founder and partner of the German competence network, Clean Power Net, PASM also works to further develop marketable fuel cells.

KPI review cooperation with STRABAG.

PASM has been using different KPIs to measure and evaluate the energy efficiency of properties since 2005. The company thoroughly analyzed these KPIs in 2012 with the help of an external specialist agency and STRABAG. The analyses are scheduled to continue beyond February 2013. The goal is to increase the level of differentiation in the KPI system. All Telekom buildings were divided up into seven different groups, and KPIs and related processes were then aligned for each group. The TOP 25 properties, for example, comprise all properties that consume more than 10 GWh of electricity per year. We closely monitor the peak loads of these properties so that we can take suitable countermeasures. The concept, which was developed by the partners, was approved by the PASM and STRABAG-PFS managing boards. The processes will be made even more efficient in 2013, particularly with the collaboration of STRABAG service units.

PASM also introduced integral planning with energy managers and service agents as well as building owners and property developers in 2012 as an additional measure to increase efficiency. PASM was able to achieve considerable improvements in five pilot tests. The next step will be to stabilize the processes and incorporate them into corporate structures. An integral concept is currently being tested at a Telekom location in Munich.

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Energy efficiency means climate protection. PASM uses efficiency indicators to monitor efficiency improvements at around 8,000 network nodes and data centers in Germany. The company commissioned the STRABAG-PFS construction company to conduct on-site analyses of its production facilities. STRABAG-PFS engineers analyzed energy efficiency potential and developed solutions as to how to effectively exploit this potential. PASM has been able to significantly increase energy efficiency in the past few years, e.g., by replacing inefficient fans, installing innovative control units or adjusting the systems to current demand.

DESI project.

Since late 2011, PASM has been testing solutions for the smart energy systems of the future in collaboration with Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs ) and Telekom Deutschland as part of the DESI project on end-to-end, energy-sensitive ICT. The purpose of the project is to develop a system for load adaptive control and to test concepts for generating and storing energy. This is one of the key foundations for smart grids. Different ways to manage peak loads and optimize the purchase of electricity are also being tested.

In 2012, the project partners set up a remote control connection to control the storage behavior of an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system as a demonstration. At the same time, they laid the technical foundation for a comprehensive control system. The purpose of the system is to flexibly control data storage and provision of the required electricity in line with data volumes to be stored. Electricity is either taken from the supply network or from our own storage system, depending on availability and price. The project team then began developing the necessary control software. They also continued and completed studies on the required hardware.

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Solutions for implementing smart grids have been one of the big technology goals for the past few years. In the DESI project, which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as part of the IT2Green research focus, PASM has been working on developing a comprehensive approach that integrates the entire ICT supply chain in collaboration with Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs ) and Telekom Deutschland. The project is scheduled to run from 2011 to 2013.

The DESI approach focuses on three core areas:

  • Creating ICT component connectability in smart grids
  • Integrating ICT components into the entire energy supply chain
  • Control of variable energy supply for ICT networks

Participants in the DESI project are also looking at how the ICT network power supply can meet the main requirements of a smart grid such as load shifts and supply stabilization. The solution the team is working on can be seen as the first development stage in creating a control unit that can monitor all smart grid processes and control them in a way that is energy efficient.

The LOLA Project.

We are also working on optimizing the telecommunications network within the scope of the LOLA project (Load-adaptive Networks & LANs), as well as in the DESI project. The DESI project focuses on smart concepts for supplying and storing power in a demand-oriented, cost-efficient way. The LOLA project, on the other hand, focuses on solutions for flexible, load-adaptive usage models for the operation of ICT resources that are used for customer and access networks. Many of today's ICT devices and systems require a consistent power supply as long as they are switched on, regardless of what they are actually being used for. In the LOLA project, participants identified and studied usage case examples in which energy consumption can be adjusted to fit actual use both for operator networks and customer networks. The LOLA project ran from October 2010 to December 2012. The advancement and pilot phase of the LOLA approach of load-adaptive network operation is scheduled to be continued in another project in 2013 as well.

We were able to save a significant amount of energy in the operation of corporate and broadband access networks in 2012. A pilot project, which was completed in March 2012, is the perfect example. Within the scope of the project, Deutsche Telekom developed control mechanisms for the load-adaptive operation of its own workstations. Results showed that energy consumption can be reduced by up to 23 percent when IT systems, including PCs, notebooks and phones, are only switched on during actual working hours and automatically switched to standby mode or completely shut off during lunch break.

In 2012, Telekom also developed and tested an ICT component control system for home networks. The tests showed that energy savings of 20 to 25 percent were feasible depending on usage behavior and communications service type. Analyses on certain operator network segments even showed savings potential of up to 30 percent.

Access network.
Telekom has been using the G-PON (Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks) technology since 2009 for FTTH expansion with fiber-optic lines all the way to the users' home. By using G-PON technology it is now possible to use the high-speed potential of fiber optic technology to its fullest: up to 2.5 Gbit/s of download speed and up to 1 Gbit/s of upload speed have now become feasible. In the spirit of the LOLA basic concept, we are working on a solution that enables us to reduce G-PON technology energy consumption by standardizing the device at the end of the fiber-optic network on the customer's premises.

End-to-end network control.
Another goal of the LOLA project is to establish end-to-end-network control. This will enable us to save even more energy in addition to the already existing load-adaptive control technology, as it was used as an island solution for DSL and G-PON networks, for example. In order to achieve this, we need to develop solutions that enable load-adaptive operation and high-quality data services across networks at the same time. We have been working in collaboration with system manufacturers since 2010 to develop the technology and to standardize load-adaptive, cross-network systems internationally in order to create energy-efficient global market products that anyone can purchase.

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Unlike traditional systems, which require a basically constant supply of energy throughout the day, load-adaptive ICT networks adjust their energy needs to actual use, which is subject to extreme fluctuations. Load adaptation means that parts of the production systems can be shut down gradually or all at once at times of low data load such as at night or in the early morning hours. That reduces energy consumption considerably. The LOLA project explored how smart control systems can reduce energy consumption in networks and end devices. The project initially focused on customer networks and access networks. By continuing to pursue the LOLA basic approach, our long-term goal is to develop smart, end-to-end control along the entire network architecture. Initial model analyses and lab measurements indicate an estimated total energy and CO2 reduction potential of around 30 percent.

ComGreen: load-adaptive optimization of radio access networks.

The energy consumption in radio access networks is steadily increasing. This is due to the network expansion and also to the increasing capacity demands of mobile users. Telekom operates tens of thousands of base stations and Wi-Fi hotspots in Germany, which have a total annual energy consumption in the three-digit gigawatt hours range. Until now, these networks were operated regardless of their usage; the same amount of energy has been used no matter whether the load is high or low.

With the ComGreen project, Telekom wants to develop a way of adjusting mobile communications network performance to demand. Every telecommunications network user should be able to use the transmission capacity they actually need in any location instead of being provided with maximum transmission capacity, as is current practice. To achieve this, the project team is developing a model for self-organized adjustment of network parameters such as data rates and transmitting power. The model takes the number of logged in users and their current capacity needs as well as other data into consideration and makes it possible to switch available network resources on and off accordingly, depending on capacity requirements.

Initial results from the project, which were presented in 2012, show that load-adaptive, intelligent network control holds a saving potential of up to 30 percent when it comes to energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Following this analysis, the project team is planning to develop drafts for load-adaptive control standards and present these to international standardization committees. The objective is to be able to integrate the concepts and mechanisms developed in the project into operative network nodes in the medium term with the help of system manufacturers. The team began preparing a feasibility study to implement selected mechanisms in 2012.

Program for hydrogen and fuel cell technology in Germany.

We are currently operating five fuel cell systems. These were tested for suitability under the German federal government's National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Program. We focused in particular on using fuel cells as a backup system and to manage peak loads and on identifying ways to incorporate the fuel cells into a virtual power plant. We were able to prove the systems' suitability for daily operation at all five pilot sites.

PASM closed out the program with a workshop in 2012. The findings show that the technology used can be employed efficiently at sites with backup times of more than 24 hours. PASM continues to participate in Clean Power Net (CPN) together with manufacturers and users of fuel cell technologies under the patronage of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Organization (NOW) in order to share our experiences with these systems with all market partners.