Project Zerix header - sustainable printed circuit board

Project Zerix

Zero environmental impact materials for a sustainable future

With Project Zerix, we incorporate advances in biotechnology, chemistry, and materials science with computer science and engineering to develop more environmentally sustainable materials for the IT industry. We seek to integrate the drivers of technical innovation and environmental sustainability as mutually reinforcing targets for our planet, and to bring sustainability to the foreground in the design, planning, implementation and eventual disposal or recycling of materials.

By exploring new biological and chemical circularity pathways, Project Zerix aims to achieve net-zero embodied carbon and net-zero waste in our datacenters and beyond — eliminating environmental impacts that affect the health of our people, ecosystems, and planet.

circular flow diagram showing materials extraction through end of life

Our strategy

Measure and model environmental impacts

We identify and quantify sources of environmental impact in IT infrastructure to both understand the magnitude of the problems and make informed bets on new technologies. We leverage expertise in full life-cycle assessment across hardware manufacturing, use, and end-of-life, to analyze hotspots where new materials, fabrication methods, usage models, and policy could mitigate environmental impacts.

Identify more sustainable materials and components

Biotechnology, green chemistry, and materials science have all experienced significant progress over the past decade. Recently, they are experiencing further acceleration driven by automation of screening processes and machine learning-guided optimization. We can draw from these advances to develop and select new materials and methods, fabricate novel materials, and engineer desired properties in materials to make our devices more environmentally friendly or biodegradable.

Develop and deploy greener infrastructure

Creating physical prototypes of more environmentally friendly IT infrastructure allows early engagement and collaboration with product teams for experimentation and potential technology transfer. We use a gradual approach where we drive technologies to maturity and then work towards broader deployment when they are sufficiently capable. For each of the new materials and methods to be introduced, we investigate its feasibility, scalability, and potential impact through modeling, then innovate to fulfill gaps in meeting technical requirements, drawing from the scientific advances described above or other sources. Finally, we pilot it in a realistic Microsoft scenario before scaling and deployment.

Learn about Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability >