Researchers at Hewlett-Packard (HP), one of the world’s largest IT companies are planning to run their data centres on cow manure.
Cow manure produces large volumes of methane gas which is considerably more polluting to the environment than carbon dioxide. One cow produces enough waste every day to power three households’ televisions. A large diary herd of several thousand could generate enough power to run an entire data centre.
Vast data centres are growing at a staggering rate due to the amount of information being stored online. Data centres are essentially buildings full of servers (computers) storing data. As the internet grows, the numbers of server farms will multiply. All data sent on the internet has to be stored on a server.
These centres consume huge quantities of energy and generate large amounts of heat. Farmers could earn hundreds of thousands of pounds pre year by selling waste-derived power to a data centre.
Solar panels and wind farms are already powering some data centres. The Icelandic government wants its data centres to run on geothermal power. Atlantis Power, a small Scottish company is building a data centre on Orkney to run on electricity generated from tide power.