Shell, Infosys, and the future of sustainable data centres

Both companies are partnering to advance sustainable data centres in immersion cooling and AI services, prompting discussions about reducing site emissions

In a bid to enable sustainability-first data centres, energy giant Shell is partnering with global IT leader Infosys to accelerate adoption of immersion cooling services. 

For the project Infosys and Shell will bring together their capabilities in digital and energy respectively to create an integrated offering for green data centres to accelerate adoption of immersion cooling. They are set to leverage Shell Immersion Cooling Fluid and Infosys Topaz to accelerate sustainable AI as part of the partnership.

The joint venture aims to promote green data centres, leveraging AI and immersion cooling technology for enhanced energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.

Turning data centres green

Data centres are responsible for up to 1.5% of global electricity consumption, with AI expected to only accelerate global data centre demand. As a result, businesses are racing to ensure that their facilities are not only AI-ready and capable of keeping pace with widespread technological change, but also ensuring that these changes are sustainable.

In particular, Infosys claims to have turned fully carbon-neutral in 2020, which is 30 years ahead of the timeline set by the Paris Agreement. As reported by Data Centre Solutions, it realised the ‘business imperative’ of reducing carbon intensity and so tailored many of its solutions to suit clients in their decarbonisation journeys. 

Likewise, Shell is also seeking to become more sustainable with its immersion cooling fluid solutions for the data centre sector. It is aiming to become a net-zero emissions energy organisation by 2050 and it is the hope that, with Infosys, both companies can leverage digital technologies to monitor and adjust immersion cooling technology, further reducing energy consumption and lowering CO2 emissions.

Shell’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology in particular is working to enable the latest immersion cooling solutions for data centres. Its synthetic, single-phase immersion cooling fluid is made from gas and can be used in natural convection and pump systems.

The significance of cooling technology solutions

Shell’s overall goal throughout this is to reduce energy costs and emissions via high cooling efficiency, flow behaviour and thermodynamic properties. Shell also states that it aims to improve product safety through its high compatibility with computer components, thereby ensuring that it is safer and easier to handle. In fact, the technology can potentially show up to 30% less CO2 emissions and a 48% reduction in energy footprint production.

Infosys has also been working to turn its data centres green. It cites that globally, data centres currency account for 3% of total energy use, which is the equivalent of about 200 million tonnes of carbon emissions. This figure is currently expected to grow by more than 30% each year.

With data centres often well-known for the amount of energy that they use, Infosys has been vocal about how it wants to strive towards better energy sustainability to invest in greener data centres. In fact, the company has already challenged the global average Power Utilisation Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.8 and set a target of achieving PUE of less than 1.12, which is 40% lower than the global PUE.

In FY21, 45% of the energy requirements of Infosys data centres were met through renewable sources. As a result, the facilities now consume 80% less energy.

Partnerships between companies like Shell and Infosys highlight how critical it is to ensure greater efficiencies and sustainable measures are being taken within the data centre industry. Indeed, AI solutions can help manage the world’s rising data demands, alongside ever-ambitious sustainability targets. Crucial to the success of these collaborations, however, is ensuring that organisations have access to the right data.

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