HP says that the manure from 10,000 dairy cows would provide enough power for a 1 megawatt data center. In fact, the cows would produce so much electricity that there would also be enough juice to power the dairy farm itself. What HP envisions is that the data center would be built next to the dairy farm. The manure from the 10,000 cows would be fed into a anaerobic digester, which uses microbes to convert the manure into methane biogas. The biogas is then burned in a turbine to produce the electricity. Adding to the efficiency of the process would be the heat produced by the data center itself – this heat would provide the energy needed by the anaerobic digester to break down the manure.
While HP acknowledges that some dairy farms are already capturing the methane produced by their cows, they are suggesting that data centers be build next to dairy farms. Chandrakant Patel, one of the HP Labs researchers, says, “We are suggesting that if you are starting to (look for a place to locate) a data center, now that high-speed networking is starting to extend into other areas, why not look at this opportunity where you cannot only use manure, but capture the energy right at the source?”
via: CNet News