OK, so it’s not technically “farts” so much, but it might as well be. Microsoft wants to power the data centers of the future, the beating heart of the Internet by, among other things, letting your feces rot and give off methane. This is also how YouTube comments are made.
Thankfully, this does not mean Microsoft Sewage Squads will burst into our houses and force feed us Taco Bell. It just means that we’ll hopefully have a more reliable power source for the Internet.
The basic idea is to power data centers with biogas. Biogas is basically putting waste, anything from your yard clippings to meadow muffins, into an airtight container and letting it… ah… digest anaerobically. That gets you methane and carbon dioxide, plus maybe some hydrogen sulfide for that nice “rotting crud” smell. Mix it with oxygen, burn that mother, and you’ve got fuel! And as long as people keep eating, you’ll have a reliable source of fuel.
No, seriously, Microsoft is doing this. They’ve built a pilot project in Wyoming and everything:
In April 2012, we introduced our latest sustainable data center concept, known as the Data Plant,that combines the virtues of a power plant with the high energy demand of a data center. This Wyoming R&D pilot will help to concretely demonstrate the benefits possible by integrating the collection, treatment, and consumption of biogas at the source to create an extremely efficient use of renewable energy.
Don’t forget kind of gross!
The main problem is that whole “sustainable” thing: They need to demonstrate running the Internet on farts is a process that’s “energy-positive” instead of just gross.
Amazingly, Bush’s and Goya are not also involved with this. Come on, guys. If there was ever a train to get on that you already had a ticket for, this is it.