HP Outlines a Data Center Powered by…Cows?

Between spam, social networking, chain letters, lolcats, karaoke videos and a million other Internet memes that certainly can’t be classified as “useful,” it’s not much of a stretch to say that a much of the Internet is full of…manure. Now HP Labs has outlined a way companies could use manure to power their data centers. In a research paper presented to the ASME International Conference on Energy Sustainability, HP outlines how the manure output of dairy farms can be used with the heat output of data centers to create an economically viable—and environmentally sustainable—system that can power data centers.

hp outlines a data center powered by cows labs manure datacenter

“The idea of using animal waste to generate energy has been around for centuries, with manure being used every day in remote villages to generate heat for cooking,” said Tom Christian, HP’s principal research scientist at its Sustainable IT Ecosystem Lab, in a statement. “The new idea that we are presenting in this research is to create a symbiotic relationship between farms and the IT ecosystem that can benefit the farm, the data center, and the environment.”

A typical dairy cow produced about 120 pounds of manure a day, which can generate about 3 kWh of electrical energy—that in itself isn’t a huge amount, but once you start throwing more cows into the equation the numbers add up fast. HP outlines how a farm with about 10,000 dairy cows could generate enough electricity to power a medium-sized data center—that’s about 1 megawatt—and still have enough power left over to run the farm. In a neat move, the heat generated by all the servers in the data centers gets used to accelerate the anaerobic digestion of the manure; that, in turn, amps up the rate of methane production. By using the methane for to power and cool a data center, the process means less methane gets released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gasses, and fewer pollutants are produced by flaring off methane.

What’s more, dairy farmers might be able to make a profit from powering data centers: HP estimates that the system would break even for dairy farmers within two years, and then start generating about $2 million a year in revenue by selling power to data center customers.

Cars

We get up close with the Vision iNext concept to learn about BMW’s future

Through a massive worldwide campaign that visits various major cities around the world, we get our exclusive opportunity to get up close and personal with BMW’s latest Vision iNEXT Concept to learn about automaker’s future plans.
Cars

End your dependence on fossil fuels with one of these amazing electric cars

Electric cars are getting smarter, safer, and more capable with each passing year. Here are our picks for the best electric cars on the market, whether you're looking for a performance ride or a family-friendly crossover.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Home Theater

Want to save your favorite film? Here's how to fix a scratched DVD or CD

A scratched edition of your favorite DVD is no good, but our guide will show you how to fix a scratched DVD, whether you prefer to repair it using a smattering of peanut butter or Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser.
Computing

Tap Strap wearable keyboard gains support for VR applications

TAP System's wearable keyboard gains support for virtual reality, now compatible with Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus Rift, and HTV headsets. Type and tap for up to eight hours in VR without needing to look at a physical keyboard.
Computing

Wi-Fi vulnerability could allow attackers to steal your data on unencrypted sites

A 20-year-old security flaw in the design of the Wi-Fi standard and how computers communicate using the transmission control protocol could allow hackers to perform a web cache poisoning attack to steal your data and login information.
Product Review

The powerhouse Alienware 17 R5 will leave your desktop in the dust

With a 17-inch display and a chassis weighing in at nearly 10 pounds, the Alienware 17 R5 is truly massive. Between its weight and its hardware, it’s certainly outfitted like a gaming desktop so let’s find out if it performs like one.
Deals

Walmart takes $380 off the MacBook Air for a limited time

Walmart is offering a steep discount on the MacBook Air. Though the $380 discount is lovely, this offer comes with an extra charger to sweeten the deal. If you're looking to pick up an Apple MacBook for less, now is an excellent time.
Computing

PDF to JPG conversion is quick and easy using these simple methods

Converting file formats can be an absolute pain, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide on how to convert a PDF to JPG, no matter which operating system you're running.
Computing

Documentation shows data recovery possible for Macs with T2 coprocessor

New documentation from Apple shows that data recovery is indeed possible for Macs with T2 Coprocessor thanks to internal diagnostics software, giving users of the 2018 MacBook Pro new hope in the event of a system failure.
Computing

Smart Reply not smart enough? Desktop Gmail users can soon opt out

Google will soon give desktop Gmail users the ability to opt out of Smart Reply. If you'd prefer to compose a short email the old-fashioned way, you can do so without seeing the auto-generated suggestions in the future.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with 12 of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Product Review

The HP Chromebook x2 takes Chrome to the next level

HP’s Chromebook x2 acts a lot like Microsoft’s Surface Book 2, with a well-equipped tablet that plugs into a keyboard base that’s heavy enough to keep the combination mostly stable. Is this premium Chromebook the best one you can buy?
Computing

Pain in the wrists? Type in comfort with one of these great ergonomic keyboards

Long typing sessions can leave anyone's wrists aching, but if you have one of the best ergonomic keyboards, that doesn't have to be the case. Our list of favorites will support good typing posture while being comfortable to use.