Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

SCAVENGE Report Summary

Project ID: 675891
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SCAVENGE (Sustainable CellulAr networks harVEstiNG ambient Energy)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The fifth generation 5G of mobile technology will support 1,000 times more capacity per unit area than 4G, for more than 100 billion devices with typical user rates of 10 Gb/s, and significantly lower latency and higher reliability. The higher capacity demanding human-centric communications will be complemented by an enormous increase in the number of communicating machines, the so called Internet of Things (IoT). 5G will enable the co-existence of multiple types of access technologies, multiple types of devices and applications, and a much higher connectivity density through an ultra-dense network of heterogeneous base stations (BSs).
However, this enormous growth in the number of devices and access points will also lead to an equally large growth in the carbon footprint of the information and communication technologies (ICTs). According to a recent report by Digital Power Group, the world’s ICT ecosystem already consumes about 1500 TWh of electric energy annually, approaching 10% of the world electricity generation. Consequently, major industry players have already put environmental sustainability in their roadmap to 5G. Furthermore, connecting this dense network of BSs to the energy grid, and regularly recharging drained end device batteries is physically impractical, if not impossible.
Sustainable design of cellular networks is therefore a key growth sector for societal prosperity and will require significant numbers of highly skilled researchers.
A promising solution to restrain the negative impact of the ICT sector on the environment and reduce the energy costs, while providing the 5G network with the much-needed autonomy from the energy grid, is harvesting the available ambient energy.
The SCAVENGE project proposes a sustainable paradigm for 5G mobile networks, where base stations and connected end devices are powered with local energy resources (LERs), e.g., solar and/or wind energy.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first reporting period, the beneficiaries have dedicated their activities to achieve the general goal of the Action and in particular they have concentrated on:
- recruitment of 14 young talents.
- definition of a multi-disciplinary training program including a set of topics in different areas of knowledge, such as design and optimization of communication networks, energy management systems, renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, machine learning for system modeling and optimization, testbed design.
- organization of 4 schools on the selected topics of the Action
- definition of the Personal Career Development Plans of the hired early-stage researchers
- Supervisory Board organization and meetings
- definition of the work to be carried out within each scientific workpackage
- state-of-the-art surveys in the different areas of the Action, included in each Deliverable of the scientific workpackages.

The work carried out in this first reporting period has posed the basis for the scientific activities of the Action during its second phase in the following two years.
The research fellows have already produced contributions to the literature by participating in international conferences and publishing articles in scientific journals. In particular, we highlight here our contributions in the area of energy-aware optimization of communication networks, energy-aware transmission of mobile devices including wake-up receivers, energy-constraint optimization of IoT objects, coded and distributed caching for communication networks, implementation of energy-efficient tranceivers for renewably powered base stations and mobile data analytics.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

SCAVENGE has three original and timely aspects that differentiate it from the current state-of-the-art research and existing doctoral programs.

- SCAVENGE addresses all aspects of sustainable design for the operation of 5G systems. Our proposed architecture optimization includes the radio access and the core network, user terminals, sensors and communicating machines. Furthermore, a feasibility study for the integration of the proposed sustainable 5G network functionalities into smart micro-grids will be carried out. The project will follow the roadmap defined by 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP) to design 5G systems. In addition, the integration of energy harvesting technologies into the 5G networks will be fostered in our ESRs’ individual projects. In particular, SCAVENGE will contribute to the following focus areas defined by 5G-PPP 17 : (i) End to end Energy Efficiency; (ii) Trillion of Devices; (iii) User Throughput:; (iv) Scalability and capacity; (v) Spectrum Availability.

- The key challenge in designing and managing a communication system with energy harvesting capabilities is the unpredictable and intermittent nature of the energy that the renewables provide, which goes beyond the scope of typical “green communications” research. To this respect, we cite here the GreeNet ITN, the EU Projects EARTH, ECONET, the NoE TREND, and the GreenTouch Initiative whose primary goal is to reduce the energy consumption of communication networks, by however disregarding self-powering from renewable energy sources. The research proposed here distinguishes itself also from the EU projects E-CROPS and SMARTER, which focus on energy harvesting for wireless sensor networks. Remarkably, the 5G networks that are addressed in SCAVENGE differ in terms of communication technology, usage models, power consumption and requirements.

- SCAVENGE will contribute to the Horizon 2020 EU Energy Challenge. SCAVENGE will contribute to Competitive Low-carbon Energy area, by introducing metrics and methodologies to measure the energy efficiency and environmental footprint of ICT (with particular focus on EH cellular networks), and energy management techniques to reduce its footprint. Moreover, SCAVENGE will also investigate on the integration of the EH cellular network into the smart electricity grid. The outcome will open new interesting business opportunities for the European energy market.

All these innovative aspects have been contributing in the definition of an attractive research and training program in the area of sustainable ICT design oriented towards employability, innovation and technology transfer.
With the SCAVENGE training program, our ESRs have been training in a cross-disciplinary field of knowledge including communication networks, information theory, computer science, and energy generation, storage and efficiency. The ESRs have been working in a multi-cultural environment, thus building the base to enable their future transnational research and to exploit synergies between the international partners of the SCAVENGE consortium.
Through the individual projects, the ESRs’ secondments, the organization of multiple training events (i.e. Initial Training School, the School_1, School_2, School_3 and School_4), and the regular conference calls for the scientific work packages, the Action is also providing the opportunity to the partners to discuss and implement joint research agendas and consolidate the collaboration in the research on sustainable design for ICT.
Moreover, the cross-disciplinary SCAVENGE training program is giving the possibility to the teachers to prepare new material for a possible future inclusion in Master and PhD programs, which currently have scarce or negligible information on sustainable design for ICT.

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