A University of Calgary professor says he has developed a technology designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with using a cellphone or sending an email.
After a year of brainstorming, researching and testing, Fadhel Ghannouchi and his team of students at the Schulich School of Engineering have developed a digital transmitter that uses about half the energy to operate compared with current transmitters.
"I feel good because it's an invention that can bring advantages to users, to the corporations and also to the environment," Ghannouchi said.
A report by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative says the power it takes to send and receive signals from cellphones and other wireless electronics creates the same amount of carbon dioxide per year as that generated by the aviation industry. According the report, 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is generated worldwide each year to keep communications towers buzzing.
Ghannouchi, an engineering professor, said the signals generated by cellphone calls, e-mails, streaming video and other information sent over the internet all have to go through giant communication towers.
"These big antennas and big transmitters consume a lot of power. We need a lot of energy, and to produce this energy we need to put in the air a lot of CO2. It's very concerning."
He has developed a device that delivers a signal that is more energy efficient, but just as high quality.
In terms of cellphones alone, the latest Statistics Canada data says there are 16.8 million subscribers in Canada.
Ghannouchi said he's already heard from several communications firms in the U.S. that are interested in his invention.