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Recycling excess data center heat

I saw a post on Slashdot today about recycling datacenter heat, and thought I’d share my two cents.  You can read the article it links to for an idea of how the planned implementation will work, but I just want to say I think it’s stupid, and that there’s a much better way to do it.  That is very simple.  And cheap.

Step 1: attach pipe to roof.  Step 2: put turbine in pipe near top.  Step 3: open roof under pipe into datacenter.

To make that a little more clear though, as that probably sounds like a 3 step method a 5 year old came up with, the idea is to use convection currents to generate power.  If the pathway upwards tapers as it goes up, the upward motion of the heat as it tries to cool will cause it to move fast (faster than it normally would at least), which would make it so that the turbine could spin, thus creating eee-lec-tricity.  To make it even more efficient, you might point some solar reflectors at the base and add a cowell over it to direct heat, wait for it, up the tube toward the turbine.

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