Renewable energy access attracts Facebook to Illinois for new data center

💰 INVESTMENT: Facebook plans to build an $800 million data center in DeKalb, Illinois, that will operate solely on renewable energy, the Chicago Tribune reports. This is the company’s first data center in the state, joining 15 others across the world. The tech giant says it chose the location because of its access to renewable energy and talent pool.

BIOFUEL: Underwood, North Dakota-based Midwest AgEnergy Group received a $3.4 million grant from the North Dakota Industrial Commission to advance the development of a carbon storage system project.

🔬 RESEARCH: Iowa State University researchers developed graphene sensor technology that tests for histamine, an allergen and indicator that meat or fish is spoiling. In addition to detecting spoilage, which could reduce food waste, the sensors hold potential for a variety of uses such as detecting environmental toxins.

🤖 ROBOTS: Refraction AI’s semi-autonomous delivery robots started grocery deliveries yesterday in Ann Arbor, where the company is based, reports Venture Beat. Last year, Wired reported that the robots are powered by an electric bike motor; the robot legally is categorized as an e-bike. Refraction AI was founded last year by two University of Michigan professors, and it recently secured $5 million in investor funding.

🚀 SPACE: Missouri native Robert Behnken is one of two astronauts who conducted a spacewalk this morning to replace lithium-ion batteries for one of the International Space Station’s power channels, CNN reports. This is the latest in a series of spacewalks that began in 2017 to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion versions. The astronauts also are preparing for other power system upgrades in the future.

🚗 TRANSPORTATION: Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the four U.S. cities that will test curbside management technology to reduce congestion and improve street safety, reports StateScoop. Downtown curbside space will be designated a “smart zone” during the pilot project for the app. Results just released from a similar pilot with a different vendor in Columbus, Ohio, show the technology was used 19,000 times in a six-month period and cut down on delivery drivers double or illegally parking, according to Smart Cities Dive.

🏆 COMPETITION: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory launched its new I AM Hydro Prize competition to uncover innovative solutions for transforming the hydropower industry using advanced manufacturing technologies. The application deadline is September 30.

🤝 COLLABORATION: The University of Notre Dame and IBM spearheaded a new collaboration to address ethical concerns that arise from the use of advanced technologies. IBM provided a 10-year, $20 million commitment for the Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab, where researchers will focus on the ethical application of technology.

Help me cover tech news in the Midwest. Send news tips, press releases, and feedback to katie@centered.tech or connect on LinkedIn and Twitter @centereddottech.


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