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Manure-Powered Data Centers -- The Next Big Thing?

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted May 25, 2010


HP Labs demonstrated at the ASME International Conference on Sustainability that a herd of 10,000 cows could power a midsize data center co-located next to the dairy farm. They could capture heat from the servers to assist in the conversion process. Although still just a concept, HP believes it is a viable way to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers. The Enterprise IT Planet Green Blog explains.


Besides generating a chuckle or two, a manure-powered data center may be the ultimate in sustainable energy for both developed and developing countries. HP Labs presented the concept at the ASME International Conference on Sustainability last week.

There must be something in the water over there at HP Labs. I can just imagine the conversation around the lunch table:

Engineer 1: We've got to find a better way to power future data centers. Building data centers in big cities used to make sense when network connections were slow and we needed to be close to our customers, but now with faster connections and expensive land and electricity costs, we're going to be paying a lot more in the future!

Engineer 2: Yeah, and being in a big city makes it really hard to use renewable energy sources to power our data center. We can still get our EPA Energy Star rating since the rating doesn't take into account the source of electricity, but did you see what Greenpeace did to Facebook? I mean, those guys are building one of the most energy efficient data centers out there and they still got slammed!

Engineer 1: Man, this is a good hamburger. Tastes just like the ones we used to have while we were growing up in Wisconsin, fresh and never frozen beef. There's nothing like it.

Engineer 2: Hey is it true what they say about cows and cow poop?

Engineer 1: You better believe it. Every cow makes 120 pounds of manure per day! That's 20 tons per year!

Read the rest of "Could Data Centers be Powered by Cow Manure?" on the Enterprise IT Planet Green Blog

For more green data center news, be sure to check out this week's green data center news roundup also on the Enterprise IT Planet Green Blog. Highlights include news from Raritan, Microsoft, Stream Data Centers and Swisscom.

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