Saturday, May 23, 2009

Arctic Data Center

As the internet age consolidates more and more computing power in "the Cloud," away from end-users in data centers, the energy intensity associated with those data centers is skyrocketing. In a 2007 Congressional Report, they were pegged at 61 billion gigawatt-hours, or 1.5% of all electricity use in the United States. By 2011, this is expected to double.

Data centers need 1) an immense amount of energy to run all the processors, and 2) an immense amount of cooling/air conditioning to keep the equpiment from overheating.

Since the essence of data centers and cloud computing is to be off-site or remote, it may make good sense to locate them near remote energy resources in cold areas. There are many energy resources like oil and coal reserves, mountain streams, or geothermal reservoirs, that are not economical to transport back to population centers. Additionally, the efficiencies of thermodynamic cycles are highest when you have plenty of cool air or water as a "cold sink," so power generation and air conditioning would work much better.

High bandwidth data could be fed in and out of the facilities using runs of fiber optic cable or satellites.

CATEGORY: Energy / Technology
IDEATION: Oct 22, 2008


  1. This seems to make a lot of senese. Bravo.

  2. Do I have to call Santa when internet breaks down? And is it a good idea to have important data in a unsecure or neutral location? Other than that bravo again. Im in favor of anything that get rid of Charter.

  3. yeah - the vulnerability/isolation of the facility might have some downsides. if ups delivers there, could order everything you needed over the internet!

  4. This idea is great, the main hurdle would appear to be a decent size telecom pipe to get data in and out. The huge cost saving on cooling and power generation can be passed on to the consumer which in turn makes the cloud technology available to more small to medium sized businesses. Can I suggest a small nuclear reactor to create energy similar to the ones military vessels use. Like the mPower reactor by Babcock & Wilcox (B&W)