This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

IBM, Syracuse and New York State are planning to build a 6,000 square foot, $12.4 million data center that will be one of the greenest around and serve as a lab of sorts. 

The aim: Make the upstate New York data center 50 percent more energy efficient than the typical version found today. In addition to Syracuse funding, IBM will provide more than $5 million in equipment and services and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) contributes $2 million. 

One big part of the project is focusing on the infrastructure of the data center not just the hardware and software. Some of the specs:

  • The data center will have an on-site electric co-generation system that will be powered by natural gas microturbine engines;
  • There will be a electrical tri-generation system;
  • Syracuse will manage and analyze the data center and develop new analysis and modeling tools;
  • Direct currrent (DC) power distribution (most data centers use AC);
  • IBM and Syracuse will create a liquid cooling system that will use “double-effect absorption chillers to convert the exhaust heat from the microturbines into chilled water to cool the data center’s servers, with sufficient excess cooling to handle the needs of an adjacent building.”
  • Naturally IBM will provide the hardware, including servers and cooling doors, and software.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.