Google Eyes Offshore, Wave-Powered Data Centers

by | Sep 9, 2008

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google_wav2.jpgGoogle data centers may someday float on the ocean. The search giant recently filed a patent for a “water-based data center,” which uses ocean surface waves to power and cool the facility. The patent also confirms Google’s development of “crane-removable modules,” a container-based data center, writes Rich Miller on Data Center Knowledge.

According to the patent, these floating data centers will be located 3 to 7 miles off-shore and reside in 50 to 70 meters of water. The data centers will incorporate Pelamis Wave Energy Converter units that can turn ocean surface waves into electricity and can be combined to form “wave farms.”

“If perfected, this approach could be used to build 40 megawatt data centers that don’t require real estate or property taxes,” writes Miller. But he questions which laws would govern the consumer data managed from the offshore location.

Back in January, according to Miller, International Data Security (IDS) said it was planning to build up to 50 data centers on cargo ships moored at piers, with data center space below-deck and container-based data centers being housed above deck.

In August, IBM announced it’s planning to build a $360 million data center. Although it will not be floating in the sea, the data center will also take a modular approach to construction, which the company says can defer significant capital costs and slash energy use by 50 percent.

Sun has also been working in the modular data center space. It has launched Project BlackBox, an energy efficient modular data center with eight racks in a shipping container.


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