Tuesday, March 17, 2009

IBM Unveils Smart Technologies, Services In Global Water Issues

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WORLD WATER FORUM -- IBM today unveiled its first portfolio of smart water services and technologies, and a scientific breakthrough -- a more energy efficient membrane that quickly and reliably filters out salts and deadly toxins, such as arsenic.

Using advanced analytics, developed by mathematicians in IBM Research, as well as the company's information management, technology services, and business consulting capabilities,
IBM's new Strategic Water Management Solutions include the following offerings to help governments, water utilities, and companies across many industries monitor and manage water more effectively:

Natural Water Resources -- Provides sensor data integration, analysis and visualization to enable the measurement, modeling and management of water levels, usage and quality in natural water resources.

Water Utilities -- Enables water providers to make rapid decisions regarding business processes and operational efficiency to maximize their return on investments as well as foresee and quickly respond to contamination issues and emergencies.

Water Infrastructure -- Provides sensing systems for managing water infrastructure, such as levee oversight management and flood control.

Water Metering -- Improves management of water supply and demand by integrating data between the dozens of stakeholders involved. Provides all stakeholders with consistent, real-time information to help them work together to make critical decisions about water supply in a geographic region.

Green Sigma for Water (TM) -- is a business consulting service that identifies where water is being used, measures and monitors usage, and creates process improvements to reduce water use. IBM pilots have achieved reductions in water usage of 30%.

IBM also announced:
Achievements of the SmartBay sensor system, which monitors wave conditions, marine life and pollution levels in and around Galway Bay, Ireland. The system, developed by IBM and the Marine Institute of Ireland, provides real-time information to stakeholders in the Irish maritime economy, runs on a cloud computing platform, and is able to predict water conditions critical to those stakeholders.

New reports that explore public and private sector water issues, and discuss the connection between water management and data management.

Source: MSNBC

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The GDP Energy Ratio

The list below shows the Top-11 GDPs in the world in 2007 (including the EU as a complete unit). Added up they account for $48.4 trillion, an astounding 89% of the world’s production. That means the rest of the world put together produces just 11% of GDP. You will also notice that none of the OPEC and related oil-producing nations are on the list. Commodity sales do not create large GDPs – productive peoples do.

As we begin the discussion regarding a brand new tax on American business, the Carbon Cap-and-Trade Tax introduced by President Obama in his 2009 budget, we might keep this in mind. Energy consumption discussions are only relevant when compared to a country’s GDP. In other words, the more efficient a country is in using energy to produce GDP, the less it should be penalized.

For example the US uses roughly 25% of the world’s energy, but contributes 25% of total GDP – a very efficient GDP/Energy Ratio of 1:1. China by contrast just passed the US as the biggest pollution emitter in the world, but contributes just 6% of total world GDP – China uses about 9.2% of the world’s oil for example; a GDP/Oil ratio of 1:1.6 – so clearly China has a far worse record than the US, as one might expect in a newly industrialized country. [This analysis ignores coal consumption in China, the world’s largest user of coal and by far the worst producer of coal pollution.]

Introducing a Carbon Cap-and-Trade Tax on US businesses will make us less competitive with less efficient countries like China and India. That will cause our 1:1 energy efficiency to decrease, the opposite of what we would like to happen, because energy costs are always reduced by scale – less GDP – less scale. The Tax is wrong-headed and counterproductive. The true cost of energy, as always, will drive efficiencies and innovation.

Fine graining even further, one should discount energy consumption by the percentage GDP value of goods exported minus the energy cost of shipping. This is because those goods are sent to countries that do not use energy to produce them; effectively representing an energy credit. The United States is a major exporting country. In 2007 the US exported approximately 11.7% of its GDP. If we count the energy cost of shipping as 1.7%, then the net adjustment to the US GDP/Energy Ration would be 10%, or 1:.9, a very efficient usage of energy indeed.

Richard L. Wottrich

2007 GDP (millions of USD)

World - 54,347,038

1 United States - 13,811,200
Eurozone - 12,179,250
2 Japan - 4,376,705
3 Germany - 3,297,233
4 China (PRC) - 3,280,053
5 United Kingdom - 2,727,806
6 France - 2,562,288
7 Italy - 2,107,481
8 Spain - 1,429,226
9 Canada - 1,326,376
10 Brazil - 1,314,170
(China passed Germany in GDP in 2008.)