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Meeting 100Gbps Ethernet Requirements with CMOS Integrated Circuit Chipset to Dramatically Cut Energy Use in Data Centres

Meeting 100Gbps Ethernet Requirements with CMOS Integrated Circuit Chipset to Dramatically Cut Energy Use in Data Centres


"Data centres are critical modern infrastructure, yet their energy consumption is growing unsustainably. Globally, data centres consume 3% of electricity (higher than the UK’s total consumption) and account for 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That gives them the same carbon footprint as the airline industry.
Although various energy efficiency gains are being made, the state of the art for data transmission within the data centre is inefficient. Optical Transceiver Modules (OTM), at 40Gbps and above, use power-hungry SiGe/BiCMOS technology in their Integrated Circuits. With a typical, large data centre containing at least 800,000 OTMs, they are responsible for around 8% of total energy use.
HiLight Semiconductor Ltd, a “Fabless Chip Company”, has developed MERCURY, an innovative Integrated Circuit chipset, pioneering the use of industry-standard CMOS technology to drive 100Gbps OTMs. With the use of standard CMOS, on 12"" wafers, we are able to produce our Chipset for significantly less than our competitors' BiCMOS on 8"" wafers. Together with our low power innovation, we expect to displace BiCMOS technology entirely over the next few years, just as has been seen previously, at lower datarates.
Meeting all industry standards, MERCURY achieves 100Gbps with less than half (57%) the power consumption of BiCMOS solutions. Based on European data centres' energy use and our expected global sales rates, by 2022, MERCURY will save 1.5 Billion kWh every year in Europe and 6 Billion kWh/year globally, helping meet the EC Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in Data Centres.
This innovation project is designed to undertake vital prototyping, validation and demonstration activities to bring MERCURY to market-readiness. Within five years (2022), we expect to secure 30% of the global market, generating €49.5 million cumulative profits and creating 35 very highly skilled jobs, extending Europe’s leadership as a Centre of Excellence in high speed Analog CMOS design."
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Delta House Enterprise Road Southampton Science Pa Chilworth
So16 7ns Southampton Hampshire

United Kingdom

Activity type

Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)

EU Contribution

€ 1 774 361,75

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 733958


Closed project

  • Start date

    1 August 2016

  • End date

    31 August 2018

Funded under:



  • Overall budget:

    € 2 534 802,50

  • EU contribution

    € 1 774 361,75

Coordinated by:


United Kingdom