Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Methane Powered Data Centre

Well we've reported on a lot of environmentally friendly data centre proposals over the last year or two, including land facilities powered by wind and waves, floating centres using wave power, date centres where the heat output is used to power associated housing and commercial centre, etc. Now TechTarget has reported a new idea - methane power.

Apparently the mayor of Chicopee in the US would like to run a a proposed data centre using gases from landfill sites. The idea is that publishing company Dow Jones would build a national data centre in the town and the electricity could be generated from methane in the landfill.

It seems that it's been done before - Fujifilm announced in 2007 that it would use methane from a nearby landfill to help power a manufacturing plant in South Carolina. Google has also said that it would pay for the building of a methane-powered greenhouse near a data centre it’s building in North Carolina, allowing the company to claim carbon credits.

I'm not an expert, but I would have thought that landfill gas might be somewhat unreliable for data centre use - reliability being the watchword for all data centre developments. Either it would need expensive storage facilities or, more likely, the landfill will be backed up with more conventional sources.

Anyway, full marks for originality. Remember - holistic.

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