In an interesting development Google has taken the concept of Green Technology and moved it to a whole new level; or to be quite accurate, out to sea. The novel idea has awarded Google with a patent for the production of offshore datacenters to be used to help with the massive amount of information that goes through their search engine every day.

The idea of the floating data centers is to benefit from all the resources of the sea. The “boats” will work as tidal energy harvesters which will power the hardware used in the datacenter as well as all the complimentary equipment needed to keep them functional. The vessels will be partially submerged in water which will dissipate heat and cut down on the required cooling cost. Since the datacenters would float 3-7 miles off the coast, there would be no real estate or property taxes to house the units. In order to accomplish all of these things, Google wrote the patent for a system that would include:

“A floating platform-mounted computer datacenter comprising a plurality of computing units, a sea-based electrical generator in electrical connection with the plurality of computing units, and one or more sea-water cooling units for providing cooling to the plurality of computing units.”

Google hopes that these aquatic datacenters will one day provide a green alternative to one of the most energy using fixtures in business today.

Currently the Aquatic Datacenter Farms are just a pipedream but after the patent was filed, Google began full scale testing of the technology that could one day make this a reality. The Google search engine is currently one of the most energy intensive programs in the world. When averaged together the amount of energy it takes to perform a single Google search is on par with what it takes to boil a pot of water. When you consider the billions of Google searches that are run every day it should be no surprise that Google has devoted so much time to an energy solution. While it’s unlikely that aquatic datacenters will replace traditional models anytime soon it is a real possibility that these energy efficient designs could start to supplement older models over the next few years. As businesses work to acclimate themselves to run in a “green world,” experimental projects such as these could soon become the norm.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department