Microsoft will build an experimental biogas-powered data center in the US state of Wyoming in March 2013, in an effort to enable its data centers to be less reliant on the traditional power grid, US media reported.
The data center will be powered by a 300kw fuel cell that uses biogas from a waste water treatment plant and will be "the first zero carbon data center", Sean James, Microsoft's senior research project manager, told technology news website GigaOM in an interview.
According to James, the biogas produced at waste water treatment plants is usually burned away because it is uneconomical to collect, transport and use. The Microsoft data center will be built next to the water facility to enable the fuel cell to capture the biogas on site, reported Xinhua.
Brian Janous, Microsoft's utility architect, told GigaOM that water plants could make good sites for small-scale data centers as they are usually close to dense populations.
Microsoft might build micro data centers at other water treatment facilities if the experimental project goes well.
A data center is a facility used to house computers, telecommunications and storage systems.
As more and more data centers need to be built throughout the world, technology companies are seeking to lower their carbon emissions associated with their data center energy use.