Google has filed a patent for a wave-powered data centre. The data centre would also use sea water for cooling.
There are currently an estimated 44 million servers in use worldwide. These use about 0.5% of the world’s electricity – about the same amount as Argentina or the Netherlands.
Google’s patent envisages using existing technology, such as the Pelamis wave energy converter, to generate electricity for large server arrays located at sea where the most wave energy is available.
The Pelamis device consists of a series of semi-submerged cylindrical sections linked by hinged joints. Waves cause these sections to move relative to each other. This motion pumps high pressure oil through hydraulic motors which drive generators to produce electricity. Power from all the joints is fed down a cable to a junction on the sea bed. Several devices can be connected together and linked through a single cable.