It’s the Off-Grid Data Center

By Michael Kanellos in Greentech Media December 2 2009

Now your data center can really withstand a blackout.

IBM and Syracuse University plan to build a $12.4 million, 6,000 foot data center that will effectively be powered by natural gas. Natural gas turbines will provide power for the computers, storage systems and servers.

Heat from the microturbines, meanwhile, will be captured and funnelled into a double-effect absorption chiller that will convert the heat into chilled water. That chilled water will then be utilized to cool down the computers. Air conditioning can take up half of the power delivered to a data center. Waste heat by contrast is arguably free energy. The turbines and chillers will allow the university to run the data center off the grid. But that raises the question: Why not also try to harvest the heat from the computers? Well, a group in Finland is building an underground data center that will try to do just that.

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