Read the full story from Northern Arizona University.
As data centers expand to handle the exponential growth of global data traffic, the amount of energy they consume is increasing at an alarming rate. Currently, data centers use approximately 10 percent of the world’s electricity—predicted to grow to 20 percent by 2025—and in the process are also becoming one of the world’s biggest sources of pollution.
A major new $3.75 million study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is designed to develop a solution to this problem. The three-year project, “FRESCO: FREquency Stabilized Coherent Optical Low-Energy WDM DC Interconnects,” is led by Daniel J. Blumenthal of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Read the full story from the Associated Press.
Google is looking into building a $600 million data center in central Minnesota that would be powered by two wind farms.
Read the full story at Quartz.
Every Google search comes at a cost to the planet. In processing 3.5 billion searches a day, the world’s most popular website accounts for about 40% of the internet’s carbon footprint.
Despite the notion that the internet is a “cloud,” it actually relies on millions of physical servers in data centers around the world, which are connected with miles of undersea cables, switches, and routers, all requiring a lot of energy to run. Much of that energy comes from power sources that emit carbon dioxide into the air as they burn fossil fuels; one study from 2015 suggests internet activity results in as much CO2 emissions as the global aviation industry.
Read the full story in e360.
The gigantic data centers that power the internet consume vast amounts of electricity and emit as much CO2 as the airline industry. To change that, data companies need to turn to clean energy sources and dramatically improve energy efficiency.
Read the full story in Environmental Leader.
Google has requested 1.5 million gallons of groundwater per day to cool the servers at its Berkeley County facility, hoping to draw the water from the county’s aquifer. The company already uses about 4 million gallons of surface water per day, writes the Post & Courier (via Mashable). Google has studied various options for cooling its servers and has found that pumping groundwater was the best solution.
The request comes at a time when a commercial boom in the area has led to companies (and residents) using water at a faster rate than the aquifers can replenish. Scientists are currently studying the area’s water situation, attempting to determine how much water from the aquifers can be used before depleting supplies of groundwater.
Read the full story in Treehugger.
Supercomputers, mega-computers located at national laboratory sites that can process calculations in a matter of nanoseconds, are currently processing information that may solve many of the biggest problems humanity faces. There are supercomputers running calculations regarding climate change, world hunger and endless scientific pursuits.
NASA of course uses supercomputers for its research. A new modular supercomputing system called Electra at the Ames Research Center is helping the agency to plan its missions as well as also greatly reducing the impact of all those calculations.
The Electra system uses a fan technology that uses less than 10 percent of the energy of mechanical refrigeration systems in place at other supercomputing facilities. The system will save about 1 million kWh of electricity every year — the equivalent of 90 households — and 1.3 million gallons of water every year.
Read the full story in FutureStructure.
In what some have dubbed a shocking announcement, the tech powerhouse discloses its plans to power itself using 100 percent renewable energy.
Read the full story in E360 Digest.
As China’s population connects to the Web, its data centers are consuming huge amounts of energy to power the growing demand. Now, Chinese tech companies are turning to energy-efficient data facilities to cut costs and green their operations.
Read the full story from NPR.
At Green House Data in Cheyenne, Wyo., energy efficiency is an obsession.
When someone enters one of the company’s secured data vaults, they’re asked to pause in the entryway and stomp their shoes on a clear rubber mat with a sticky, glue-like finish.
“Dust is a huge concern of ours,” says Art Salazar, the director of operations.
That’s because dust makes electronics run hotter, which then means using more electricity to cool them down. For data centers, the goal is to use as little electricity as possible, because it’s typically companies’ biggest expense.
In 2013, data centers consumed 2 percent of all U.S. power — triple what they consumed in 2000. Wendy Fox, Green House Data’s communications director, says the sector has a responsibility to source that electricity sustainably.
The power Green House Data draws from the grid mostly comes from coal. The company offsets that by purchasing green energy credits that support renewable energy development elsewhere.
But larger companies are no longer interested in simply buying credits. Instead, they want to get more of their power directly from renewables.