HP Researchers Propose Manure-Powered Data Centers

Business savvy agriculturalists may soon be able to milk additional funds from technology companies willing to rent land and use the manure from the cows to power their data centers.

By Ainsley Jones | Posted May 19, 2010
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A new stream of revenue could be in play for America's dairy farmers. Business savvy agriculturalists may soon be able to milk additional funds from technology companies willing to rent land and use the manure from the cows to power their data centers.

Data center efficiency is a growing concern, especially as an inevitable carbon tax looms. HP researchers have proposed using a biogas recovery system which would convert waste from livestock into methane, to be used to as fuel to generate electricity for data centers, reports the San Jose Mercury News. According to biogas experts, one cow is good for about 100 watts of power per day.

A dairy farmer with 10,000 cows and a $5 million investment could install the system, which would pay for itself within a two-year period, says Greentech Media. HP researchers note that the synergy between dairy farms and technology companies would also reduce carbon emissions for both parties.

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