In the ongoing quest for a more energy-efficient world, tiny chips can make a massive difference.

New silicon-carbide power-management chips are smaller than a penny and do similar work to the microchips in computers. The chips, however, move electricity (watts), not data (bytes) and work to extend battery life and reduce power consumption, according to GE. They are made from the same material traditionally found in abrasives like sandpaper and the tops of skateboards.

Historically, these power-management chips have been difficult to make. They can handle megawatts of power and are overall much more efficient than their counterparts. Ljubisa Stevanovic, advanced technology leader in energy conversion at GE Global Research, said, “By upgrading a datacenter to silicon-carbide chips, we can reduce its electricity consumption by 5%. Upgrading every data center across the world would save a total of 15 TWh (as in tera, or trillion watt-hours) per year. To put this in perspective, New York City’s five boroughs plus Westchester consume 60 TWh annually. So, we can conclude that upgrading all data centers to silicon carbide would save enough energy to power Manhattan (Broadway lights and all).” Read more…

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Zany geometric photos of new energy-efficient silicon carbide chips