Black Graphics On Your TV, For A Greener World?

Can you really save energy by carefully choosing the colors displayed on a TV screen? Under some conditions, yes. Or at least that’s the conclusion of a team at the BBC that looked at reducing the energy consumption impact of their output by using what they call Lower Carbon Graphics. In short, they’re trying to ensure that OLED displays or those with reactive backlights use less energy when displaying BBC graphics, simply by using more black.

It turns out that a lot of British households play radio stations on their TVs, and the BBC sends a static image to each screen in this mode. As part of a redesign across the organisation, the BBC removed the bright background colours from these images and replaced it with black, with a remarkable reduction in power consumption, at least on OLED and FALD screens. (On normally backlit screens, 89% of British TVs, this does nothing.)

If you look hard at their numbers, though, listening to radio on the TV is horrendously inefficient; can you imagine a radio that consumes 100 W?  If the BBC really wants to help reduce media-related energy consumption, maybe they should stop broadcasting radio programming on the TV entirely.

Anyway, as we move toward a larger fraction of OLED screens, on TVs and monitors alike, it’s fun to think that darker images use up to 40% less power. Who knew that Hackaday was so environmentally friendly?¬†Black is the new green!

Header: RIA Novosti archive/ Igor Vinogradov, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Fueling With Ammonia

There’s a major push now to find energy sources with smaller carbon footprints. The maritime shipping industry, according to IEEE Spectrum, is going towards ammonia. Burning ammonia produces no CO2 and it isn’t hard to make. It doesn’t require special storage techniques as hydrogen does and it has ten times the energy density of a modern lithium-ion battery.

You can burn ammonia for internal combustion or use it in a fuel cell. However, there are two problems. First, no ships are currently using the fuel and second most ammonia today is made using a very carbon-intensive process. However it is possible to create “green” ammonia, and projects in Finland, Germany, and Norway are on schedule to start using ammonia-powered ships over the next couple of years.

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