Soon, cow dung may light up data centres!

The multifarious use of cow dung gets wider if the computer major HP`s research finding is anything to go by.

Updated: May 19, 2010, 22:07 PM IST

New Delhi: The multifarious use of cow dung
gets wider if the computer major HP`s research finding is
anything to go by.

While the use of this waste material as cooking fuel,
manure and bio-gas is not new, it has the potential to
generate power to run data centres, says a research by HP
Labs.

In a research paper presented at the ASME International
Conference on Energy Sustainability by HP Labs (the computer
major HP`s central research arm) shows that manure of cows can
be used to generate waste-derived power, which will be
supplied to data centres.

The research suggests that a farm of 10,000 dairy cows
could fulfill the power requirements of a one-megawatt data
centre (equivalent of a medium-sized data centre) and
surplus power left over to support other needs on the farm.

"A medium-sized dairy farm with 10,000 cows produces
about two lakh metric tonnes of manure per year. About, 70 per
cent of the energy in the methane generated via anaerobic
digestion could be used for data centre power and cooling,
thus reducing the impact on natural resources," HP said.

Today, when the call for data centre efficiency is
growing louder amid depleting non-renewable sources of energy,
the move might present an alternative to the needs of
enterprise.

HP researchers estimate that dairy farmers would break
even within the first two years of using a system like this
and then, earn roughly USD 2 million annually in revenue from
selling waste-derived power to data centre customers.

"Using animal waste to generate power has been around
for centuries...The new idea that we are presenting is to
create a symbiotic relationship between farms and the IT
ecosystem that can benefit the farm, the data centers and the
environment," Tom Christian, principal research scientist,
Sustainable IT Ecosystem Lab at HP said.

-PTI