This week at TreeHugger: Date centers and servers gobbled up 61 billion kWh in 2006, and that has kept growing. Microsoft Research is working on clever algorithms and sensors to help save energy and money. The second generation of biofuels won't be made from food crops like corn, and algae is a good candidate. Green Star has developed a new micronutrient that makes algae grow much faster. And unfortunately, the cost of wind turbines is skyrocketing. These giant marvels of modern technology are hit hard by multiple factors...

We're now firmly in an interconnected and digital world, and that means lots and lots of servers. The EPA wrote a report for the US Congress about it in 2006, and they estimated that servers and data centers represented about 1.5% of total electricity usage in the country for that year. That's 61 billion (with a 'b') kilowatt-hours, and that's for 2006, back when most people were just starting to discover Youtube. It's probably way more now. But Microsoft Research wants to help reverse that trend.


Green Star just announced the creation of a new micronutrient that can help boost algae daily growth rate by 34% and "increase the total biomass quantity in a harvest algae growth cycle by well over 100%."

The price of offshore turbines rose 48 percent to 2.23 million euros ($3.45 million) per megawatt in the past three years, according to BTM Consult APS, a Danish wind power consultant. By comparison, land-based rotors cost 1.38 million euros per megawatt after rising 74 percent in the same period.

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.