Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

Facebook to build ‘green’ data center in Northern Sweden

reblogged from a post I wrote for Social Media Innovation In Action:

Last Thursday, Facebook declared its plans to build a massive server farm in the Swedish town of Luleå.  Located about 62 miles south of the arctic circle, Luleå’s average temperature is 34.3°F providing an ideal environment for air cooling these servers.  This data center will consist of three server halls covering the area of 11 football fields (300,000 sq ft).

image credit:  The new Facebook data center by The Node Pole, on Flickr

The close proximity of the Luleå River (which generates twice the electricity of the Hoover Dam) will provide a reliable renewable energy source for the server farm which will require 120 megawatts of electricity.  Officials from Luleå project that Facebook will spend around $760 million building the facility.  This is Facebook’s first international data center and will provide better service for their European customers.

Infographic (credit:  Infographics – US by The Node Pole, on Flickr)


A great step for renewable energy.

Pavegen Systems has developed what they call the “Pavegen Tile” which converts kinetic energy into electricity.  These tiles can be installed in high foot-traffic areas to generate electricity from the footsteps of these individuals.    The harvested energy can be used to provide instant bursts of energy to local electronics or it can be stored on the internal battery.

Pavegen installed 20 tiles between London’s Olympic stadium and the Westfield Stratford City mall which will see approximately 30 million people in one year.  This will create enough energy to power half of the mall’s external lighting.

image: kendepauw via techocular

These highly durable tiles are composed of 90% recycled material.  One step can generate enough energy to power a LED streetlight for 30 seconds.  Stepping on the tile triggers a small light within which directly involves the user in generating the electricity.  These tiles are a fun and exciting new way to generate renewable energy.


 Source 1 | Source 2

3D Solar Cells

As you know, solar panels are designed to capture sunlight and convert this energy into electricity.  This is an amazing source of sustainable energy that many people are beginning to embrace.  One of the major downfalls to solar panels is the sheer amount of space that must be used in order for it to be effective.


Jeffrey Grossman (a professor of power engineering at MIT) and a graduate student named Marco Bernardi saw this crucial flaw and sought an affordable solution.  They designed a program which evolved simple solar cells that effectively captured light into a desirable condensed cell.  They evolved these models over and over until they arrived at the one pictured on the left below.  It is incredibly complex and would be very difficult and expensive to build.  They came up with the model on the right which works similarly yet is much easier to build and therefore less expensive.

Photo: Jeffrey Grossman, Bryan Meyers and Marco Bernardi of MIT


These complex 3D cells capture more energy than flat panel solar cells.  They eliminate the need for complicated and expensive tracking systems which keep the panel pointed at the sun because they are able to capture light in all directions.  I can see these cells gaining a lot of attention in the near future as sustainable energy becomes more popular.  Sustainable energy is here to stay and concepts like this will make it much more attractive and affordable.