Leave it to Microsoft to power its cloud services with a very different kind of cloud — a smellier, gaseous one. The computing giant is investing $5.5 million in research and development to see if it can use the biogas from the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming to fuel a data plant. It’s working together with the city of Cheyenne and a company called FuelCell Energy to get the project built by spring of 2013. According to Microsoft, the fuel cell plant will provide 200 kilowatts of power with any excess going back to reduce electricity cost. If all goes well, Microsoft aims to build more data plants near other sources of renewable energy like landfills, wastewater treatment plants and even dairy farms — an idea that HP labs had a couple of years ago. Hopefully this means the Redmond firm will finally reach its carbon neutral goal and not have to deliberately waste energy to avoid a fine. Together with army generators turning garbage into energy, we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that we’re one step closer to Mr. Fusion becoming a reality.
[Image credit: Yale Office of Sustainability]