In November 2012, Microsoft announced plans to power a new datacenter in Cheyenne, Wyoming by using biogas generated from local municipal waste as a research project. Today, the company revealed that the datacenter and its power plant should finally be online sometime in the next month.
The project has taken a much longer time to finish than first predicted. Microsoft originally said the datacenter would be completed by March 2013. Todays update on the facility did not mention any reasons for the delays.
The plan is for the datacenter to use fuel cells that are powered by biogas, which is made from the waste provided to Microsoft by the local Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility. Even the excess heat made by the fuel cells can be used by the treatment plant to help break down even more waste for biogas creation.
Once the datacenter goes online, Microsoft will monitor its energy use for about 18 months. After that, it will be donated to the local community, including the University of Wyoming, in the hopes that they will continue to research the use of biogas as a power source.
Microsoft says that datacenters use up two percent of all power in the U.S and that number is expected to double in the next few years. Efforts to take those facilities off the normal energy grid by using alternative means of power could help, along with making current datacenters more efficient.
Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft