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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Google patent on floating data centers

This may be old news to others, but I only learned about it just now, and I have to assume there are still people who haven't heard it yet, so:

It seems the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Google a patent for for a floating data center that uses the ocean to provide both power and cooling. The patent, granted on 28 April 2009, tells how floating data centers would be located 3 to 7 miles from shore, in 50 to 70 meters of water. The technique would obviously use ocean water for cooling, but according to the patent, Google also intends to use the motion of ocean surface waves to create electricity, via “wave farms” that produce up to 40 megawatts of electrical power. As a side-benefit, floating data centers (if located far enough out to sea) are not subject to real estate or property taxes.

More details of how the wave energy machines would work can be found here.

The interesting thing will be to see where, in the world, Google would put its first offshore data center. Any guesses?


  1. What's more interesting is how will their patent be enforcable against other companies who would also deploy their data centers on inernational water :)

    Not to talk about the absurdity of everything being patentable in the US... this thing is 100% based on prior art. Both tidal generators and watercooling has been around for a while.

  2. heh- it's not cheap building stuff to live at sea.
    It will be interesting to see how this actually plays out.


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