Press Release: May 19, 2010

HP Labs Designs Data Center Fueled by Manure

Research demonstrates ability to create a sustainable IT ecosystem using dairy farm waste

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- HPtoday presented new research from HP Labs, the company’s centralresearch arm, showing how the manure output of cows and the heatoutput of data centers can be combined to create an economicallyand environmentally sustainable operation.

In a research paper presented at the ASME InternationalConference on Energy Sustainability in Phoenix, Ariz., the HPresearchers explain how a farm of 10,000 dairy cows could fulfillthe power requirements of a 1-megawatt (MW) data center – theequivalent of a medium-sized data center – with power left over tosupport other needs on the farm.

In this process, the heatgenerated by the data center can be used to increase the efficiencyof the anaerobic digestion of animal waste. This results in theproduction of methane, which can be used to generate power for thedata center. This symbiotic relationship allows the waste problemsfaced by dairy farms and the energy demands of the modern datacenter to be addressed in a sustainable manner.

Highlights

Dairy farms and datacenters may appear to be unexpected partners; however, HP Labs hasshown that the specific needs and challenges of both can be alignedto create a sustainable life cycle, using technologies readilyavailable today.

  • The average dairy cow produces about 55 kg (120 pounds) ofmanure per day, and approximately 20 metric tons per year – roughlyequivalent to the weight of four adult elephants.
  • The manure that one dairy cow produces in a day can generate3.0 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electrical energy, which is enough topower television usage in three U.S. households perday.(1)
  • A medium-sized dairy farm with 10,000 cows produces about200,000 metric tons of manure per year. Approximately 70 percent ofthe energy in the methane generated via anaerobic digestion couldbe used for data center power and cooling, thus reducing the impacton natural resources.
  • Pollutants from unmanaged livestock waste degrade theenvironment and can lead to groundwater contamination and airpollution. Methane is 21 times more damaging to the environmentthan carbon dioxide, which means that in addition to being aninefficient use of energy, disposal of manure through flaring canresult in steep greenhouse gas emission taxes.
  • In addition to benefiting the environment, using manure togenerate power for data centers could provide financial benefit tofarmers. HP researchers estimate that dairy farmers would breakeven in costs within the first two years of using a system likethis and then earn roughly $2 million annually in revenue fromselling waste-derived power to data center customers. 

Changing the energyequation

HP is working to transformthe way in which businesses and societies organize and operate bychanging the way energy is consumed and produced, thereby creatingmore sustainable ecosystems. HP Labs is committed to designing datacenters that are substantially more efficient and use local,renewable energy resources.

Contemporary data centersare increasingly co-located with power generation or coolingresources to reduce operational costs. Power generation microgridscan take advantage of a variety of local power generation optionsto reduce the dependence on the utility grid for power. Microgridscan employ solar cells, wind turbines, biofuels or other sources,many of which are renewable, to generate electricity used to powerdata centers. The prevalence of dairy farms in the United Statespresents a co-location opportunity that generates biofuel from farmwaste.

Supportingquote

“The idea of using animalwaste to generate energy has been around for centuries, with manurebeing used every day in remote villages to generate heat forcooking. The new idea that we are presenting in this research is tocreate a symbiotic relationship between farms and the IT ecosystemthat can benefit the farm, the data center and theenvironment.”

  • Tom Christian, principal research scientist, Sustainable ITEcosystem Lab, HP

Supportingresources

  • Illustrationof the symbiotic relationship between the farm and data center
  • Article about farm waste-powered data center design from the HPLabs website
  • Videoof Chandrakant Patel of HP Labs explaining the research
  • HP Labs presentation at the ASME International Conference on EnergySustainability
  • More information on the HPSustainable IT Ecosystem Lab

ChandrakantPatel of HP Labs explains the research

More information on HP’swork in innovating forthe environment

AboutHP

HP creates newpossibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people,businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technologycompany, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing,personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure tosolve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) isavailable at http://www.hp.com//.


(1) Based onmost recent average household power consumption statistics from theU.S. Energy Information Association.


This news release containsforward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties andassumptions. If such risks or uncertainties materialize or suchassumptions prove incorrect, the results of HP and its consolidatedsubsidiaries could differ materially from those expressed orimplied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. Allstatements other than statements of historical fact are statementsthat could be deemed forward-looking statements, including but notlimited to statements of the plans, strategies and objectives ofmanagement for future operations; any statements concerningexpected development, performance or market share relating toproducts and services; any statements regarding anticipatedoperational and financial results; any statements of expectation orbelief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of theforegoing. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions includemacroeconomic and geopolitical trends and events; the execution andperformance of contracts by HP and its customers, suppliers andpartners; the achievement of expected operational and financialresults; and other risks that are described in HP’s QuarterlyReport on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2010and HP’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission,including but not limited to HP’s Annual Report on Form 10-K forthe fiscal year ended October 31, 2009. HP assumes no obligationand does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

© 2010 Hewlett-PackardDevelopment Company, L.P. The information contained herein issubject to change without notice. The only warranties for HPproducts and services are set forth inn the express warrantystatements accompanying such products and services. Nothing hereinshould be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HPshall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissionscontained herein.

Editorial contacts:

Elisa Greene, HP: elisa.greene@hp.com

About HP

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. With the broadest technology portfolio spanning printing, personal systems, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP delivers solutions for customers’ most complex challenges in every region of the world. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com