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When Google’s energy guru Bill Weihl told us that the search engine giant has been looking at renewable energy options for data centers like solar thermal, wind and geothermal, we had no idea the company was considering the deep blue, too. Well, according to a patent […]

When Google’s energy guru Bill Weihl told us that the search engine giant has been looking at renewable energy options for data centers like solar thermal, wind and geothermal, we had no idea the company was considering the deep blue, too. Well, according to a patent that Google filed that’s starting to get picked up around the blogosphere, the company is looking into a “water-based data center” that floats on a platform and  uses “a sea-based electrical generator” and “sea-water cooling units.”

The patent mentions a wave-powered electrical generator system that uses machines made by Pelamis. Pelamis is a decade-old Edinburgh-based company that has raised £40 million of investment and employs more than 70 people. Pelamis is already working on three large wave farms that range from 2.5 MW to 5 MW in capacity. The patent also mention using wind turbines for the sea-based electrical generator to “provide pumping power for the sea-water cooling units.”

So what’s the purpose of sending data centers out to sea? Google says floating data centers on the water can get them significantly closer to users, which can cut down on the connection costs and latency issues of long distance connections. Google also sites the possible need for floating data centers to get close to emergency situations, like a natural disaster or military war zone. Other companies like IBM, Sun and HP have modular data center products, but this is the first we’ve heard of the data centers bobbing on the high seas.

  1. [...] has even recently patented a floating wave-powered data center as a way to both get data centers closer to users while utilizing clean power. Schmidt said he [...]

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  2. [...] lit up with stories of Google filing a patent around the concept of data centers on the sea that use wave power — essentially retrofitted ships and barges that would be docked 3-7 miles from shore, in [...]

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  3. [...] Pelamis Wave Power: Another Brit wave startup, Pelamis has already raised £40 million from a list of investors including Emerald Technology Ventures, 3i and the Carbon Trust. Founded in 1998, the company is currently working on three projects — off the coasts of Portugal, Cornwall and Scotland — which are in development but have yet to put a buoy in the water for any of them. The company claims that its prototype was the first grid-connected wave energy generator in the world when it was tested in 2004. The company’s technology is very similar to that proposed by Google for its floating data centers. [...]

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  4. [...] lit up with stories of Google filing a patent around the concept of data centers on the sea that use wave power — essentially retrofitted ships and barges that would be docked 3-7 miles from shore, in [...]

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  5. [...] 18th, 2008 at 6:04 am in Startups Looks like Google isn’t alone with its idea to float a data center on the sea. Om Malik points out a stealthy startup called International Data Security, which plans to build 50 [...]

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  6. [...] like Google isn’t alone with its idea to float a data center on the sea. Om Malik points out a stealthy startup called International Data Security, which plans to build 50 [...]

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  7. [...] like Google isn’t alone with its idea to float a data center on the sea. Om Malik points out a stealthy startup called International Data Security, which plans to build 50 [...]

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  8. [...] Pelamis Wave Power: Another Brit wave startup, Pelamis has already raised £40 million from a list of investors including Emerald Technology Ventures, 3i and the Carbon Trust. Founded in 1998, the company is currently working on three projects — off the coasts of Portugal, Cornwall and Scotland — which are in development but have yet to put a buoy in the water for any of them. The company claims that its prototype was the first grid-connected wave energy generator in the world when it was tested in 2004. The company’s technology is very similar to that proposed by Google for its floating data centers. [...]

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  9. Strange idea of wave powered data centers from Google. The nearest place from Google that has waves is the Santa Cruz, CA area at Steamer Lane or Cowells or along West Cliff Drive.

    None of the top people, board or offficers, of Google seem to have second homes in the Santa Cruz area, close to the ocean where they could observe wave action.

    Perhaps they just come on weekends and stay at the Dream Inn, the Sea and Sand, Motel 6 or sleep on t the beach.

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  10. That heard as good idea, I hope google always thinks about green technology

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