Spare a thought for the cows when you're surfing the net in the coming years, won't you? Their manure will be shovelled and turned into fuel, so companies such as HP can power their data centres and save the world.
Tech companies are having to look further afield to set up their data farms, and as it turns out, being so close to farms has one strong benefit: poo. The manure has to be first turned into biogas, by running through an anaerobic digestion process, separating the methane out from the rest of the waste.
The biogas is becoming increasingly more important due to it being a renewable fuel, able to be compressed and used to power cars - or in this case, data centres. HP is at the heart of the project, telling tech companies that as the average moo-cow makes enough manure a day to power a 100-watt light bulb, 10,000 cows' waste could actually power a one-megawatt data centre.
The tech firms are kept happy, and farmers too - with the added income going a long way on farms, though not far enough that they could actually afford all the supplies needed for a biogas set-up, said to cost $US5 million up-front and $US30,000 every year thereafter in maintenance costs. [NY Times]