Data centers have for long been criticized for the enormous amount of energy they consume, most of which is spend in keeping things cool. Microsoft is carrying on with its eco friendly initiatives by announcing a plan to power its Wyoming data center with methane from harvested from the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility.
The biogas will be supplied to a fuel cell that will use the gas to produce electricity. The company has chosen FuelCell Energy Inc. to supply the fuel cell technology that will power the data center with biogas. The fuel cell will output 200kW of power to the data center housed in a modular ITPAC that will recreate the data center environment.
Excess power that isn’t being used by the data center will be provided to the water reclamation facility to offset electricity costs. The fuel cell plant and the data plant could also be configured to operate independently in the event of a grid outage.
Since the source of the biogas is located near to the data center, the system runs efficiently without the need for biogas pipelines. Microsoft is spending about $5.5 million in R&D of this project and the project will provide much-needed information for the utilization of a much-larger setup.