Facebook Wants to Build Dissolving Data Centers

Are cardboard computers in our future? Facebook and Purdue University are partnering to take green IT a step further by developing the first biodegradable server chassis.

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Tech companies will spend a whopping $45 billion by 2016 to make data centers green, according to a report by Pike Research. But Facebook wants to take the concept of "green IT" a step further, by developing biodegradable data centers.

The social network is sponsoring an Open Compute Foundation contest with Purdue University's College of Technology to develop a more sustainable server chassis. Servers, according to Purdue, are replaced about every four years, which results in a lot of waste.

Does the contest seem a little far-fetched to you? Here’s a bit more on the compost concept behind it:

"Open Compute wants to change [the amount of waste] starting with the server chassis. These are typically made of steel, which is recyclable, but even recycling generates waste. What would happen if these chassis could be placed in compost instead?"

Purdue's participating students will receive a server to use to test new designs, and the winners will attend the Open Compute Summit to present the design and have "a chance to be a rock star in the open source hardware movement."

Should the designs be successful, could we expect to see more biodegradable tech hit the market? Given the fast-paced innovation and how quickly new tech becomes outdated, it certainly seems plausible.

Would you buy easily compostable gadgets?

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