Social networking giant Facebook has backed a bid to design a server made entirely from biodegradable materials.
Facebook User Operations team members at work at the Facebook main campus in Menlo Park. AFP/Robyn Beck
The social media firm wants students to help combat the mountain of discarded hardware by building a biodegradable server that can be flung on to the compost heap.
Facebook set up its Open Compute project with the aim of designing affordable, eco-friendly servers, and now has thrown down the gauntlet to students at Purdue University in the U.S., to come up with a design for a dissolvable server chassis, the Daily Mail reports.
"We think there's enormous potential here, as servers are sometimes replaced as often as every two to three years. And even though the steel in those server chassis is usually recycled, we think it's worth exploring designs that retain the needed resiliency but push the boundaries of sustainability," Open Compute said of the ambitious project.
According to the paper, the housings are typically made from steel, which can be recycled, but the project aims to move toward an even more sustainable design made from entirely biodegradable materials, according to a report on businessinsider.com.
If the project is a success it could see the creation of a computer server that will eventually break down entirely and decompose after it is discarded, the paper said.