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Novel data centre enters the spotlight thanks to its energy- and cost-saving concept

An EU-funded prototype ICT service facility in Sweden was honoured for efforts to lower its environmental impact.

Digital Economy

With their rapidly growing carbon footprint, data centres have been focusing on keeping their environmental impact in check. Technology heavyweights are already streamlining computing processes, switching to renewables and seeking more efficient ways to cool data centres and recycle their waste heat. The EU-funded BodenTypeDC project has been at the forefront of an initiative to create an energy- and resource-efficient, sustainable data centre. It was recently acknowledged for its progress. BodenTypeDC’s facility received the Nonprofit Industry Initiative of the Year at DCD Awards 2019, according to a news release on the project website. The category involves “recognizing the great initiatives to educate and influence the data center sector that NGOs, professional bodies and academia put together,” as stated on the Data Centre Dynamics website. “Funded by the European Horizon 2020 project, this prototype 500kW facility in the small town of Boden uses every trick in the book to lower its environmental impact: it runs on renewable energy and doesn’t have batteries or gensets.”

Power usage efficiency

Launched with the aim to build and test a highly efficient prototype with power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1 or lower, the project’s data centre, Boden Type DC One, is using 100 % renewable power as well as free air and evaporative cooling technologies, as summarised in a project presentation. PUE is the industry standard metric for assessing data centre energy efficiency, with the ideal value being 1 and the global average around 2.0. A recent news release on the project website explains: “Right now our DC is operating with an instantaneous PUE of 1.007 in the North of Sweden. The DC was built with the lowest of low CAPEX and has been literally operating on ‘thin air’. Now the consortium is aiming high: to attract the industry players’ attention and to develop best practices and influence regulations where necessary.” The same news release emphasises that in addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the global aim is to “build data centers with minimal environmental impact.” It adds: “How has BodenType DC contributed to this? By enabling free access to the results that are being created by the strong cooperation of players, who are different in terms of size, origin and industry. This project has proven that it really makes sense to trust each other, to cooperate and to build on each other’s expertise and results.” The BodenTypeDC (Prototyping the most energy and cost efficient data center in the world: The Boden Type Data Center) project is scheduled to end in September 2020. As pointed out on the project website, Sweden and the Nordic countries became a growth area among the global data centre markets about a decade ago. This isn’t surprising because data centre operators are increasingly seeking colder climates to reduce their reliance on power to cool their equipment. The availability of renewable energy in the region is another element that makes places like Boden more suitable for such infrastructures. For more information, please see: BodenTypeDC project website

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