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German web host to go carbon neutral

Trusty old diesel engine at hand if renewable energy cocks up

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Web hosting firm Strato has pulled on its hemp-woven strides and made an ambitious proclamation that it will be completely carbon-free by January 2008.

The German-based company's CEO Damien Schmidt told The Register that while people may be more aware of reducing their individual carbon footprint, it was also important for tech firms to "look behind the screen" and consider the sizable, carbon-munching emissions spat out by IT equipment.

He said Strato had been doing its bit for the green brigade for some time now, and reckoned the firm had already significantly reduced CO2 emissions at its two data centres with a 30 per cent energy saving per customer in the past 18 months.

But to meet the magical 100 per cent mark, Schmidt said Strato planned to go much further by plumbing the depths of a famous German river to supply a single energy source to the web host firm.

He said: "We can afford to switch totally over to renewable energy and we are contracted for the next two years for 100 per cent hydro current energy from the Rhine River."

Asked how Strato can guarantee the electricity source supplied by NaturEnergie was totally CO2-free, Schimdt explained that German auditing board TUV had independently certified its renewable energy credentials.

The firm, which claims to have the second biggest web hosting service in Europe, added that it had also teamed up with AMD and Sun to help find ways of reducing energy consumption through new technology.

But what happens if Strato's renewable energy power supply fails?

A spokesman at the web host said: "We of course have a modern seven-diesel engine running starting at the very instance that the power fails... We have more than enough power in an emergency with diesel engines. Of course that's not carbon dioxide-free, but this is for emergency."

However, he claimed that in the past 10 years Strato had only been hit by one power outage. Offering reassurance to the firm's customers, he added: "We have enough diesel in the tank, it's not a problem." ®

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