Microsoft Files Patent for Wind-Powered Data Center

Microsoft has quietly filed a patent for a wind-energy powered data center with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The design is essentially the same as any other wind turbine. There appears to be no other innovation on the actual design or function of wind turbines. One unique feature is a “hollow tower of the wind-powered generator [that] may be used as a chimney to cool the servers.” Other than that, Microsoft is just patenting the simple idea of powering their servers with wind energy.

Wind power has increased by 25 percent in the last decade. Most notably, T. Boone Pickens vowed to line the state of Texas with wind turbines to counteract the United States’ dependence on foreign oil. Despite its increase in popularity, however, wind energy still accounts for a very small percentage of alternative energy uses.

According to a National Geographic report on wind energy, “industry experts predict that if this pace of growth continues, by 2050 the answer to one third of the world’s electricity needs will be found blowing in the wind.”

Given the race to find the next answer to oil, it isn’t surprising that large technology companies like Google are trying to patent sustainable energy data centers such as their “floating data center,” which uses hydroelectricity to power servers and the ocean’s currents to cool them. Google’s filings have led environmentalists to believe that these efforts are moving in the direction of sustainability to power our ever-increasing technology needs.

However, since being granted the patent in 2009, there hasn’t been any talk of Google’s hydroelectric-powered data centers. Which leads to the question of whether Microsoft has any intention of building its wind-powered data centers or are they just setting themselves up to become patent trolls?


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Photo credit: Kwerdenker

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Harsha Vardhana R

Microsoft made computing a house-item with PCs. If it can make alternate energies too common items, that would be great.

BUT if patents, I bet there would be pirated wind energy!!

Barbara D.
Barbara DeFratis3 years ago

This sounds good, very good, but what would sound even better would be if someone-anyone would please help me.
I live in Condominium Development which not only has a small lake, but also two gazibos, which are nicely placed, especially if they had wind mill energy on the roofs and around the lake would be an excellent wind farm, IF Only I had the vagest idea of how to get a project like this started. After all, I have never been politically active before, plus the fact that many of my neighbors are extremely set in their ways, which is why the wind mills will have to make dollars and sense.

Yvette T.
Past Member 3 years ago

No PATENT, please, on green energy sourcing! Sheesh!

Brian F.
Brian F.3 years ago

Already the states of Iowa, and Texas have high penetrations of wind power. Iowa gets 20% of it's electricity from wind power, and Texas 8%. America could scale up and get 20% by 2030, if it had the will, but first America must get rid of it's dirty republican liars, who are bought and paid for by the big oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear industries that are destroying this earth.

Chris M.
Chris M.3 years ago

A step in the right direction but a patent? I don't think so Microsoft.

Robin T.
Robin T.3 years ago

Just another monopolistic manoeuvre.
Greedy Microsoft sees an opportunity to get more control and swell it's overflowing bank balance, no other reason.

Maske a difference, plant a tree.

Ernie Miller
william Miller3 years ago

Patent Trolls? they are also in the buisness of trade marking every drawing or idea they can get their hands on. Have a unique picture or drawing chances are it will end up in their vault if you post it there or someone else does.

Cathryn Ciszek
Cathryn C.3 years ago

Could someone teach the patent Office to READ what they grant BEFORE they grant it? Microsoft should have ONLY been able to patent the method of cooling the servers, nothing else.

Larry W.
Larry Weeks3 years ago

Another bid by corporations to control our lives. If this continues we will be run by the corporations. Wars and poverty are already their stock in trade what more do we want?

Grace Adams
Grace Adams3 years ago

Draft up a chimney or hollow tower is also ancient technology. I will believe Microsoft's green bragging when they actually build and move into an air-cooled, at least partly wind-powered data center. Wind, Google's use(? or just patent filing) of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion with ocean current cooling for their center, solar panels, and all the other sustainable energy sources would all be very helpful in overcoming our fossil fuel habit. Unfortunately it is necessary to massively bribe fossil fuel firms to invest in sustainable energy to keep them from throwing a hissy fit (the Jones) over losing fossil fuel as their mission and main source of income--and very much obstructing everyone else from investing in sustainable energy.