Microsoft speaks poop to power

Sometimes, power goes out, data centers go down, and people get annoyed. Now Microsoft is building a more reliable data center, powered by the byproducts of life.

Power to the people from the people? Windsor Adams/Flickr (with permission)

The more data centers are built, the more power is consumed.

The more power is consumed, the more people rely on that power.

The more we rely on the grid, the more chance there is, perhaps, that something will go wrong.

The more we become reliant on the cloud, such a calamity will annoy more people who are desperate to, um, watch Netflix or stare at Instagram.

Microsoft doesn't want to risk taking any verbal dung from you on such matters, so it announced today that it is building a data center powered by, well, waste matter.

Yes, your Microsoft cloud uploads could soon be powered by your own personal downloads.

Microsoft's pilot project is in Wyoming, where men are men and restrooms are redundant.

At the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Cheyenne, Microsoft believes it can capture "natural bi-products like biogas directly from wastewater treatment plants, agricultural farms, fuel refineries, and waste landfill sites, etc."

The company is confident that it can enjoy the successful collection, treatment, and consumption of biogas to create a beautiful carbon-neutral data center.

Its project is known as the Data Plant.

Helpfully, Microsoft's announcement was accompanied by some fine answers to questions that might cross the mind of simple humans like myself.

The company believes that wastewater plants are a kindred spirit to data centers.

These are things that just can't go wrong. Or, in Microsoft's words, they are "mission critical facilities with high availability infrastructure built into the plant."

What is new, Redmond feels, is "the collection, treatment, and consumption of biogas at the source," lessening the need for filtration and pipelines. Yes, the plant and the data center will be next to each other.

Self-sufficiency would seem to be a very fine goal. If this project proves to be successful, the next place for the technology to be used is surely Congress.

I have a feeling that the whole of the East Coast could be powered by the waste matter that is so regularly produced there.

 

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