We are developing a facility that integrates a power station and a data center where Microsoft turns wastewater into energy

Securing new energy is a problem many companies face, but regarding this, Microsoft is a type of biofuelBiogasFrom wastewater, and with the power plantData centerWe are working on a new research to use in a facility that has integrated facilities.

Microsoft Global Foundations Services Blog: Microsoft Recycles Waste to Provide Clean Power for Data Center R & D

Microsoft needed to develop a more efficient data center facility that would increase the demand for online services since 1994, but at the same time, the energy supply system that can sustain energy to cloud services It was also necessary. Therefore, about 5.5 million dollars (about 450 million yen) was invested in a research to develop a "data plant" integrating "power station" and "data center". Currently, experimental facilities are being built in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but in future it will be possible to generate biogas, a biofuel, from wastewater treatment plants, farms, fuel refineries and landfill sites It is planned to be.

Until now biogas has been used in a way that utilizes methane generated as it is or burns it to generate electricity. However, in that case, there is a problem that it not only costs too much, but it also creates extra CO2 through the process of combustion. In this regard, in data plants, it is possible to convert biogas into energy without generating combustion treatment and generate electricity without releasing additional carbon.

WikipediaAccording to biogas, biodegradable materials such as biomass · fertilizer · sewage · city garbage · green waste · factory materials · crops etc.Anaerobic digestionOr by causing fermentation. Biogas mainly contains methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), and may contain small amounts of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), moisture and siloxane. Decomposition of anaerobic digestion in a wastewater treatment plant is accelerated by using special bacteria, but it is possible to make bacteria work more efficiently by keeping waste water warm.

Since methane produced by anaerobic digestion contains a lot of impurities such as siloxane and CO2, the project to generate energy using wastewater often fails because methane supply is not sufficiently obtained. However, Microsoft has created a structure to efficiently consume biogas in data plants. The process begins with the filtration of impurities such as moisture and siloxane contained in the gas. nextMolten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC)Converts methane and CO2 into electrical energy. At this time, it does not go through the process of burning or pollute the environment. Finally, the energy generated is used in modular data centers. And the heat generated in the energy generation in the data plant is returned to the wastewater treatment plant. As I cleaned sewage, I wrote that it is necessary to warm the wastewater to make the microorganisms work efficiently, but as the heat returned from the data center is used in the wastewater treatment plant, it will not waste energy without waste It can be utilized to the limit.

Utilizing data plants has the merit of being able to use methane, the greenhouse gas, as a product and convert it to energy. And by using a very efficient fuel cell, it is also possible to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions than the previous method. Also, by reusing waste heat it is possible to eliminate energy waste and improve efficiency.

In addition, biogas also has the advantage of not breaking the balance of carbon dioxide in the air. The following graph shows how much different types of CO2 are produced by three types of fuel in Wyoming. The top is the amount of CO 2 produced by fossil fuels, producing 1183 pounds (about 540 k) of CO 2 per MWh. In the case of fuel cells using natural gas, 940 pounds per MWh (about 430 k). And biogas is 0.

CO2 will eventually remain by electrolysis with fuel cells, but the nice thing about fuel cells is that you can convert methane gas to pure, clean hydrogen and high quality CO2. In other words, at this time CO2 can be transported to the market because it is so high in quality that it can be used industrially. You can produce valuable products without causing pollutants.

Currently we have tested on a 200 kW scale data plant that neglected production of high-quality CO 2 by fuel cell and succeeded in producing 300 kW of electric power. It is a smaller scale than the average data center, but it is proved how effective it is. In addition, when actually used, sophisticated power management system will be used instead of the existing power grid for power management.

Data plants are donated to Cheyenne City and Wyoming University along with data centers and fuel cells after the pilot project, and the site used in the project will be used for further research and development. From now on, this project is expected to be useful not only in Microsoft but also in other industries for research on new methods that provide clean, economical, efficient and stable power sources.

in Science, Posted by logq_fa