HP engineers offers a fresh alternative energy approach for IT managers.
Researchers at HP Labs presented a paper on using cow manure from dairy farms and cattle feedlots and other “digested farm waste” to generate electricity to an American Society of Mechanical Engineers conference held this week.
In the paper, the research team calculates that “a hypothetical farm of 10,000 dairy cows” could power a 1 MW data center — or on the order of 1,000 servers.
Farms that now use anaerobic digestion system to generate electricity and heat typically get some funding from federal and state grants. In such cases, a payback of four years or less on the technology is likely. Without grants, the payback can be about 10 years, said McEliece, an environmental consultant for RCM International in Berkeley, Calif.