Software maker Microsoft has awarded a contract to FuelCell Energy to build a new experimental biogas-powered data centre in Wyoming, US in March 2013.
Through the use of renewable biogas produced by a wastewater treatment facility, the Microsoft’s Data Plant allows the firm to assess the efficiency of implementing FuelCell Energy power plants to deploy on-site biogas to power sustainable data centres in future.
Microsoft Data Center Advanced Development general manager Gregg McKnight said with the demand for renewable energy resources surpassing the existing power supplies, Microsoft is researching new methods to help its operations become more efficient and environmentally sustainable.
"This project will study methods to provide an economical and reliable power supply for data centers that is also scalable and economical for use by other industries," McKnight said.
Microsoft’s Data Plant will be built in a modular IT pre-assembled component (ITPAC) which incorporates servers to recreate a data centre environment.
The new power plant, which will be deployed by Spring 2013, will offer 200 kilowatts of power for Microsoft’s Data Plant and excess power which is not been used by the data centre will be supplied to the water reclamation facility to counterbalance the electric costs.
The project is also supported by the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities, Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power, Western Research Institute, the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Business Council, and Cheyenne LEADS.