Microsoft Enters 3-year Partnership with UT San Antonio For Datacenter Research

Microsoft continues to try to use sustainable energy sources in its datacenters.  One of Microsoft’s largest datacenters is in San Antonio.  The Redmond software giant worked with the city’s mayor, Julian Castro, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (SERI) under the leadership of Dr. Les Shephard (formerly of Sandia National Lab) to work on the role of datacenters in accelerating the growth of clean energy.

Microsoft has formed a three-year agreement with UTSA to research and develop distributed generation technologies that will transform how datacenters consume energy. As part of this research, UTSA students will work hand-in-hand with Microsoft researchers to look into new “fast-start generation” energy technologies such as micro-turbines to replace the diesel generators that are used during times of peak demand and grid outages. In addition, Microsoft is making a $1 million donation to UTSA’s SERI.

“Our objective is to bring together technology, economics and commercialization to create a smart intelligent energy system,” said C. Mauli Agrawal, UTSA vice president for research. “We want to identify economically viable technologies that will reduce the environmental footprint of data centers.”

“Research partnerships like this are a game changer for San Antonio and UTSA,” said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. “They enable UTSA to conduct innovative research in sustainable energy while positioning the city on the global business stage.”

“Microsoft’s partnership with UTSA is an important investment in San Antonio’s continued rise as a center of innovation in the New Energy Economy,” said San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.

Microsoft is investing $250 million in a new 256,000 square foot data center next door to its existing 427,000 square foot facility in San Antonio. To have more control over the needed energy supply for the data center, the tech giant is working to address not only how electricity is used and distributed inside data centers but also how consumption of electricity impacts the broader grid.

“Distributed generation represents a major shift in the energy sector that will dramatically change how data centers operate,” said Brian Janous, director of energy strategy at Microsoft. “The leadership of the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute at UTSA and the city of San Antonio were instrumental in bringing this research to a community like San Antonio.”

 Source: Microsoft Green Blog