Processing Magazine

Microsoft data center to utilize sewage-fueled power plant

November 27, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Microsoft is installing a stationery fuel cell power plant that will utilize renewable biogas generated by a wastewater treatment facility as the fuel source to generate carbon-neutral electricity for its Data Plant project in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Provided by Danbury, Conn.-based FuelCell Energy, Inc., the sub-megawatt power plant project enables Microsoft to evaluate the effectiveness of using on-site biogas to power future sustainable data centers.

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The power plant will be installed at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Cheyenne by Spring 2013. The fuel cell plant will provide 200 kilowatts of power for Microsoft''s Data Plant, which will be housed in a modular IT pre-assembled component (ITPAC) that will contain servers to recreate a data center environment. Excess power not used by the data center will be provided to the water reclamation facility to offset their electric costs. In the event of a grid outage, the Data Plant project and fuel cell plant will be configured to operate independently to provide continuous power.

"With the demand for renewable energy resources outstripping available power supplies today, Microsoft is researching new methods to help our operations become more efficient and environmentally sustainable," said Gregg McKnight, general manager, Data Center Advanced Development at Microsoft. "We''re excited by the potential for using stationary fuel cells to capture and recycle natural byproducts like biogas. This project will study methods to provide an economical and reliable power supply for data centers that is also scalable and economical for use by other industries."