Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Computers Powered By Poop

Today almost everything runs on electricity. We use electricity to run trains, cook, lighting and so much more. Thus it is very important that people are able to know where they can get all the required electricity. People are able to tap energy from alternative sources of energy to help relieve the common sources of electricity.

Many companies are trying their best to try and cut down their electricity consumption. A good example would be Google. Google consumes a lot of energy. Google searches require the same energy that an 11 watt bulb requires when it's on for an hour. So one can be able to estimate how much energy is required for the Google servers and all other equipment to run. Thus Google has tried to cut their energy costs by developing advanced cooling methods and using energy saving techniques.

Others companies are also following the same trend. For example HP. It presented a paper to the 4th international conference on energy sustainability that describes how HP plans how they will use manure of cows to power their data centres. The title of the paper is design of Farm Waste-Driven supply Side Infrastructure for Data centers.

The manure that would be used will be from midsized dairy farms. Electricity will be derived form it by putting it through an anaerobic digester. The heat that is derived from this process would be used to power the turbines of the data centers cooling system. The electricity that is derived from this process will be used to power the data center. The temperature of the anaerobic digester would be regulated by the waste heat that is generated by the data center. This process ensures that there is maximum efficiency. This process also produces enough energy to be able to run the dairy farm. Thus one not only saves power use by the data centers but also the dairy farm.

According to HP, a dairy farm with about 10000 cows produces approximately 200000 tones of manure in a year. The manure produces methane gas. According to research this gas is more detrimental to the environment than carbon dioxide. The manure also pollutes the environment by polluting the rivers and streams. Thus HP using this manure to produce electricity will greatly improve the environment as it gets rid of this pollutant.

Other than reducing pollution, this process will also help boost the economy of the farms. The farms will be able to use this same electricity to run their farms and also earn huge chunks of money by selling the manure to be used elsewhere to produce the electricity. The farms can earn approximately two million dollars annually from selling the power that they produce.