back to article Meta thirsts for desert conditions in datacenter water quest

Facebook parent Meta is aiming to cut the volume of water used in its datacenters by operating servers at higher temperatures but lower humidity, as part of a commitment to become “water positive” by 2030. Meta said it has been testing operating datacenters at an upper limit of 90 degrees (Fahrenheit, that is, or just above 32 …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Facebook and untreated sewage. A perfect match.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Facebook and untreated sewage. A perfect match."

      Yes, in more ways than one. I'm a big fan of finding a way to turn a waste stream into a feedstock. Heat is a useful commodity for some and a scourge for others. Growing pineapples in the UK is a waste if you use fossil fuel to keep a hot house warm, but if you can harness the heat output of a power plant or server farm, tropical fruits and out-of-season veg can be a reality without needing to import them from thousands of miles away. The heat can also be used to cure the epoxy in composite materials. Even if the temperature is too low for some things, it could still mean less heat input than might be needed.

  3. david 12 Silver badge


    678 million imperial gallons is 3.1 million cubic meters :)

    But facebook is an American company. 678 US gallons is 2,67 million cubic meters.

    Particularly amusing given all the chauvanistic xenophobic stick The Register has been getting recently about 'Americanisation" of spelling.

    (The article may be re-edited later, but maybe not: I couldn't find the edit notification link. In any case, I still find it funny.)

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: "Gallons"

      2.567 million, but otherwise basically the comment I came here to write.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm curious how it works to be water positive: where is the extra water coming from?

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      The air. You get a fair bit of condensation on the air conditioning units.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        coal fired power stations have been water positive for ever ... so all they need to do is buy more polluting electricity! Not too sure they'd get away with that one though.

        Better solution for AWS is to coordinate with Amazon retail and collect workers' sweat ... or do they do that already?

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "Better solution for AWS is to coordinate with Amazon retail and collect workers' sweat"

          Given the amounts of drugs detected in waste water, I shudder to think what sort of contaminants would show up in a warehouse worker's sweat.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        So it seems Meta were running their New Mexico datacentre with an internal climate significantly different to the locale. Hence were using water to increase humidity (*) and to cool the air to be closer to normal office levels ie. comfortable for people.

        I suggest from my recent adventures into operating IT equipment at ambient temperatures in the 30~42C range (UK heat wave). You don't want the air temperature to go much above 35~36 degrees, as then you are likely to find the equipment is running at over 40 degrees due to the air providing no cooling effect, and with much off-the-shelf IT equipment being rated for operation in the range 0-45C you are in the danger zone of equipment faulting because it is too hot.

        (*) In the belief that more humid air provides better cooling of (dry) electrical equipment?

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

          Thermal mass correlates with humidity, but more critically if the air is too dry you build up static charges that eventually collapse in dramatic fashion.

        2. PRR Bronze badge

          13%? What an odd number...

          > a New Mexico datacenter in which it ran half the facility at 13 percent humidity. It found that key metrics like electrostatic discharge remained within tolerable ranges

          Are they spraying Downy slip-softener? Weaving wires through carpet?

          Decades of PC support tell me that every Halloween the PCs start locking-up. In an office you get perceptible shocks when touching metal or even a finger coming near a PC keyboard. In my experience, when the heat starts to drive the relative humidity below 50% you get a little static; when it goes to 28% you can have a LOT of static trouble. 13% is insanely dry, though I know it happens in our western desert. It is standard practice to humidify along with heat, and even to re-condense exhaust air's water for re-use in the humidifier.

          Humidity control was also key in textile spinning and weaving, and in some printing.

          Has Meta solved the age-old problem?

          Or is Meta's propagandist just blowing smoke?

          1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

            Re: 13%? What an odd number...

            Maybe the half-datacentre at normal operating conditions was in some way buffering the half-datacentre at 13% humidity. For example, people walking from one side to the other, or cabling from one side to the other, etc.

  5. bernmeister

    How will they do it?

    Have I missed something? As well as talking numbers it woul be interesting to read how they intend to become water positve by 2030. I suppose that if they reduced their water consumption the output from the dehumidifers would be enough. Sounds difficult.

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