Remote Data Centres and Renewable Energy  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Technology Review has an article noting "Far-flung data centers could use otherwise unharvestable renewable energy for computation" - Really Remote Data.

Researchers at Cambridge University want to put data centers in places so remote they aren't on any power grid. Their models indicate that moving data-hungry computation to places such as scorching deserts, windswept peaks, and the middle of the Atlantic Ocean—all rich in sunlight and wind energy—could allow this otherwise unharvestable energy to do useful work.

In a paper to be delivered at the 13th annual HotOS conference in May, the authors offer an extreme model of how cloud services could incorporate remote data centers powered only by renewable energy. Their scenario sites one solar- and wind-powered data center in the desert of southwest Australia and a second one in Egypt, on other side of the planet. This placement is no accident: putting them in different hemispheres, on opposite sides of the earth, maximizes the solar and wind energy they can harvest.

One catalyst for such a radical rethinking of how data centers can be sited and powered is the increasing availability of advanced fiber-optic networks. Connecting a remote renewable-energy plant to a power grid remains prohibitively expensive, reasoned the researchers working on this project—Sherif Akoush, Ripduman Sohan, Andrew Rice, Andrew W. Moore, and Andy Hopper—but running fiber-optic cable to such a plant would be relatively easy and cheap.

"We envisage data centers being put in places where renewable energy is being produced and you could never economically bring it back to heat a house," says Andy Hopper, senior author on the paper and head of Cambridge University's computer science department. "But you could lay a fiber and use energy that is otherwise lost, in that it's not economically transportable." One way to think of the underlying principle, he notes, is that it's easier to move bits (made up of photons) than electrons. ...

Hopper, however, points out that the larger effort of which this paper is a part—the Computing for the Future of the Planet project—takes it as a given that more computing is always good, because the virtualization of goods and services displaces more energy-intensive activities in the physical world. He says that a system like the one he proposes would be implemented only at either "no cost to overall performance [of a cloud computing system] or at an attractive cost to performance."

0 comments

Post a Comment

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (617) global warming (422) solar power (396) peak oil (353) renewable energy (301) electric vehicles (249) wind power (194) ocean energy (165) csp (158) geothermal energy (144) solar thermal power (144) energy storage (142) smart grids (140) solar pv (138) tidal power (137) oil (136) coal seam gas (131) nuclear power (128) china (118) lng (116) iraq (113) geothermal power (112) green buildings (111) natural gas (110) agriculture (92) oil price (80) biofuel (78) wave power (73) smart meters (72) coal (69) uk (69) electricity grid (67) energy efficiency (64) google (58) bicycle (51) internet (51) surveillance (50) big brother (49) shale gas (49) food prices (48) tesla (46) thin film solar (42) biomimicry (40) canada (40) scotland (38) ocean power (37) politics (37) shale oil (37) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) arctic ice (33) concentrating solar power (33) queensland (32) saudi arabia (32) california (31) credit crunch (31) bioplastic (30) offshore wind power (30) population (30) cogeneration (28) geoengineering (28) batteries (26) drought (26) resource wars (26) woodside (26) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) ctl (23) limits to growth (23) carbon tax (22) economics (22) exxon (22) lithium (22) buckminster fuller (21) distributed manufacturing (21) iraq oil law (21) coal to liquids (20) indonesia (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) santos (18) ausra (17) collapse (17) electric bikes (17) michael klare (17) atlantis (16) cellulosic ethanol (16) iceland (16) lithium ion batteries (16) mapping (16) ucg (16) bees (15) concentrating solar thermal power (15) ethanol (15) geodynamics (15) psychology (15) al gore (14) brazil (14) bucky fuller (14) carbon emissions (14) fertiliser (14) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) matthew simmons (13) public transport (13) biochar (12) chile (12) desertec (12) internet of things (12) otec (12) texas (12) victoria (12) antarctica (11) big oil (11) cradle to cradle (11) energy policy (11) hybrid car (11) terra preta (11) tinfoil (11) toyota (11) amory lovins (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) severn estuary (10) volt (10) afghanistan (9) alaska (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) four day week (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) methane hydrates (9) pge (9) sweden (9) arrow energy (8) bolivia (8) eroei (8) fish (8) floating offshore wind power (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) saul griffith (8) stirling engine (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) airborne wind turbines (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) scenario planning (7) vinod khosla (7) apocaphilia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) global energy grid (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)