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Data Center Handbook by Hwaiyu Geng

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30Renewable and Clean Energy for Data Centers

William Kao

University of California Santa Cruz, Silicon Valley Extension, Santa Clara, CA, USA

30.1 Introduction

With the tremendous growth of the Internet, social media, and cloud-based computing, all the information generated—videos, audios, emails, status updates, news, and tweets—ends up in giant data processing facilities called data centers. These facilities consume huge amounts of electricity, amounting to 1.5–2% of global energy demand and it’s growing at a rate of 12% a year. Data centers are thus becoming the fastest growing users of energy.

Growth of corporate sustainability and social responsibility awareness, potential future legislation on carbon emissions such as “cap and trade,” and pressure from environmental activist groups like Greenpeace International are driving industry leading companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Yahoo to make heavy investments in renewable and clean energy to power their data centers. At the same time, clean tech fuel cell companies are now targeting their fuel cell line products at data center operators as a new market for distributed cleaner power.

In this chapter, we plan to cover the fundamentals of renewable energy and fuel cells. The definition of a green data center is presented along with the latest green data center trends. How most companies (especially cloud computing ones) are going “green” by adopting heavy use of the clean technologies presented in the previous sections ...

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