Microsoft Developing Data Centers That Run on Waste Matter

November 20, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

We all know recycling of waste materials is a solution for the energy crisis. Apparently, that solution can be applied to other areas too, as Microsoft has prepared to show.

The software giant has announced that they will be developing a data center which will be powered by waste matter. It will remain a separate entity from the grid and will recycle common waste materials to power their cloud services.

With a lot of data centers being build, more amount of power needs to be consumed and with more amount of power comes high dependence of consumers. This high dependency could result in something going somewhere wrong, and if something goes haywire in the cloud, a lot of people are going to get irked.

Microsoft doesn’t want that, and hence the novel decision to power cloud services with waste bi-products. The company is setting up it’s first project, called Data Plant, in Wyoming.

Microsoft hopes to collect “natural bi-products like biogas directly from wastewater treatment plants, agricultural farms, fuel refineries, and waste landfill sites, etc.” at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Cheyenne. Proper collection, treatment and consumption of bio-gas could create a carbon-neutral data center.

According to Microsoft wastewater plants are a blessing which can’t go wrong with data centers and that they are “mission critical facilities with high availability infrastructure built into the plant.” The plant and the data center will be right next to each other and all the collection, treatment and consumption of the bio-gas will be done at the source, thus they can reduce pipelines and heavy filtration processes.

Given the amount of waste we produce everyday, I guess Microsoft will have no problem in running short of waste matter. Our uploads into the cloud could, very soon, be powered by the waste from our own backyards.

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