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Hp Researchers Say Manure Could Help Power Data Centers

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Hewlett-Packard researchers have proposed a biogas recovery system that converts livestock waste into methane, which can be used as fuel to generate electricity for data centers. The system would use the heat produced by server banks to assist the process of converting the animal waste into fuel.

Although many large data centers in the Pacific Northwest use hydroelectric power, HP scientist Chandrakant Patel says a data center should be able to tap multiple energy sources, depending on whether solar, wind, or biogas power is available, while using nonrenewable power as a backup. The researchers estimate that they would need 10,000 cows to power a 1-megawatt data center, which is a small to medium-size facility.

Biogas power could also be used in developing nations, where electricity is expensive and the existing grid cannot support a large technology infrastructure. "This could be an opportunity for emerging economies where the need for [information technology] services will be greater and greater," Patel says.

From San Jose Mercury News
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