Thursday, June 28, 2012
Biofuel holds considerable potential in data centers
The livestock of the world create enough methane gas to, well, let's just say that the amount of gas created by cattle and similar domesticated animals has had a major impact on the ozone. For centuries, the world has let this natural source of energy simply filter into the atmosphere. This could be changing, as a recent whitepaper from Hewlett-Packard Labs explains that biofuel, a form of renewable energy that uses various forms of manure as a source for electricity, is gaining prominence in the data center TechFlash reported.
According to the news source, biofuel is becoming more popular form of energy in the data center industry, creating what could mean a shift in where data centers are built. The HP Labs whitepaper explained that a livestock farm containing approximately 10,000 cattle could generate 1 megawatt of power, enough to keep 1,000 servers running.
Alluding to the whitepaper, the report said that the rise of biofuel could have a dramatic impact on where data center construction takes place. Many major data center operators have recently built or announced plans to build new facilities in such locations as Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River provides an inexpensive source of hydroelectric power. These regions, alongside other resource-rich areas have dominated the recent data center landscape when dealing with organizations that can build facilities in any geographical location.
However, the rise of biofuel could shift the focus away from hydroelectric power. Instead of emphasizing regions with somewhat rare renewable energy resources, the farm belt could become the center of new construction projects, as the easy access to cattle farms can make biofuel an attractive and inexpensive option, TechFlash explained. This would mean that states like Iowa, Ohio and Nebraska could become the next frontier for state-of-the-art data center builds.
As biofuels and other renewable energy resources become available, data center operators have a unique opportunity to take advantage of more efficient energy delivery to their data centers. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use smart grid systems to implement facility-specific microgrids. This process essentially gives operators their own internal energy grid that is connected to the broad utility setup and renewable energy resources, providing a much more effective way to manage electricity, especially from biofuel and other renewable sources.
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