Wood-be computer chip contender

A new kind of computer chip has been developed which uses biodegradable wood instead of silicon. It has been developed by a group led by engineering professor Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma at the University of Wisonsin.


The chip uses wood to replace the silicon used for the chips’ base, though silicon is still used for the components this is a reduction in silicon of about 95%.

Tests have shown that the chips perform similarly to their silicon counterparts when used in communication devices such as mobile phones. The increasing number of these devices has led to concerns as the mining of silica for silicon produces carbon monoxide, and the large amount of silicon heading to the dump is mounting up. However, one has to wonder how good for the environment a resource made from cutting down trees could be.

Written by TreeThinker

Passionate about the Earth and those who inhabit it. An engineer (BEng (Hons), MSEE) from Oxfordshire, UK, specialising in designing for a sustainable future. A member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and a keen environmental advocate who volunteers for several grass roots sustainability groups. I work full time as a project manager for a renewable energy company based in Oxford and also run ‘TreeThinker’ (www.treethinker.org); converting previous pasture land into a rich permaculture farm growing produce for sale locally. I deliver workshops on sustainable living, including building renewable energy technologies, as well as workshops for schools discussing 'Energy as a resource' amongst other topics. I am qualified in ‘Information, advice and guidance’ (level 4) and experienced at teaching practical skills. I'm also a keen cyclist and have a love of wordplay - writing a blog on etymology (www.etymologyotd.com).

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