Microsoft Goes Green with First Zero-Carbon Biogas Data Center at Wyoming
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Microsoft Goes Green with First Zero-Carbon Biogas Data Center at Wyoming

By CIOReview | Friday, November 7, 2014

ATLANTA, GA: Microsoft, Siemens Energy Management and FuelCell Energy in a joined effort mark the beginning of a functional zero-carbon, waste-to-energy data center in Cheyenne, WY. The team worked together to design, engineer and install equipment and software, including a power monitoring solution in the energy saving project which utilizes renewable energy sources.

The project uses biogas methane produced by common waste byproducts at the nearby Dry Creek wastewater facility to power the fuel cell system which is converted into the biogas, then into electricity to power the Microsoft datacenter. The plant uses an electrochemical reaction that generates electricity and heat and no emissions are produced since no combustion is involved.

Microsoft and FuelCell Energy approached Siemens with specific requirements, which contributed their engineering skills and installed intelligent controls, power monitoring hardware and energy management software to the project. It assists in powering the first independent-from the-grid, zero-carbon data center. The performance of the datacenter will be constantly monitored by the system to ensure consistent, high-quality power round the clock.

“In any data center, power quality and reliability is key since the facility must run uninterrupted 24-7 to protect information stored there,” says Kevin Yates, head of Siemens Energy Management Division. “Siemens’ brightest engineers brought their vast data center and power industry expertise to build a custom solution that proves resources like biogas and fuel cells can be relied on to provide reliable power to critical installations.”

See Also: Top Wastewater Management Solution Companies

How it Works

  • The Siemens software and hardware monitors the amount of biogas being sent to the fuel cell, the conversion to usable energy, and the fuel cell output to ensure that enough electricity is created throughout this process to reliably power Microsoft’s datacenter.

  • The technology also includes predictive demand alert capability so the data center operators are made immediately aware of any power quality or energy demand issues.

The Microsoft data center will be only using 100 kilowatts of the 250 kilowatts of renewable power generated. The additional power will be sent back to the waste water treatment facility to reduce its electric bills.  

Siemens provided environmental controls for this project inside the datacenter to manage air temperature, flow, and humidity. Apart from these benefits, Siemens also provided circuit breakers that deliver energy to the servers and protect power supply in cases of low or high energy levels within the container.

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