Google invests in hog-waste power

September 9, 2011 

Internet search giant Google is among the investors in a Duke University-sponsored Yadkin County project that is turning methane from hog waste into electricity.

A Google executive highlighted the project in a blog post Thursday discussing the company's broader efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Google seeks green projects to invest in that will offset the greenhouse gas emissions its data centers and other operations produce.

The Yadkin project is part of Duke's Carbon Offsets Initiative. The farm has a waste management system that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and produces electricity.

"Through this pilot, Duke is showing how these projects can make economic sense for North Carolinians and lead to dramatic reductions in emissions over the long term," wrote Jolanka Nickerson, the program manager for Google's Carbon Offsets Team. "We hope technologies like this can scale across the U.S. and world."

Google, like other Internet companies, has been criticized by some environmentalists for the amount of electricity it uses and how much greenhouse gases it is responsible for producing.

Several technology companies have built data centers in North Carolina in recent years.

Google also buys renewable energy and invests in carbon offsets to reduce its footprint to zero. Google disclosed Thursday that it consumed 2.2 million megawatts of electricity last year.

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