EYP and i3 detail route to carbon net-zero data centres
Reducing carbon emissions is one of the most critical goals for the modern data centre industry. As demand for digital infrastructure continues to rise, data centre operators need to find a way to meet new and unprecedented levels of demand, while taking drastic steps towards curbing carbon emissions.
A report released last month by the IEA (International Energy Agency) found that “Global emissions from the electricity sector dropped by 450mn tonnes in 2020,” partly as a result of “lower electricity demand but also from increases in electricity generation by solar PV and wind.”
However, the overall economic upturn towards the end of 2020 also resulted in a “carbon bounce,” as emissions rose once more to pre-pandemic levels. In China, overall emissions rose by around 75mn tonnes last year and, while US emissions dropped by 10%, by the end of the year, emissions had all but returned to levels comparable to before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA said that, “Our numbers show we are returning to carbon-intensive business-as-usual… these latest numbers are a sharp reminder of the immense challenge we face in rapidly transforming the global energy system.”
This week, the i3 Solutions Group, a specialist data centre MEP consulting engineering firm based in Singapore, and UK-headquartered data centre consultancy EYP Mission Critical Facilities have released the first in a series of whitepapers aimed at helping data centre operators shape their technological roadmaps as they work towards carbon net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The paper, titled “Infrastructure Sustainability Options and Revenue Opportunities for Data Centres,” has been released through a joint venture between EYP and i3 Solutions, called the 3 EYP MCF GHG Abatement Group, which was founded earlier this year. The whitepaper provides data centre operators with a practical roadmap toward achieving net-zero data centres by 2030.
A key element of the paper strives to help data centre operators find ways to reconcile the seemingly mutually exclusive goals of greenhouse gas abatement and revenue growth by twinning low-carbon technologies with demand-side response.
“With Government regulation driving data centre owners to consider the impact of their businesses on climate change, the drivers for change incorporate a wide range of financial, operational and environmental elements. This includes the commercial imperative as end users demand reduced costs and carbon neutrality,” commented report author, Ed Ansett, Founder and Chairman of i3 Solutions Group.
“The purpose of this series of white papers is to help inform decision making as data centre owners play their part in reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.”
The paper goes into detail across several technical areas where carbon reduction can be effected, including demand side response, power generation, energy storage and sustainable energy trading.
Sustainability and PUE reduction in data centres
The data centre industry is at a crossroads. As demand for colocation, hyperscale cloud, and edge solutions continues to rise, operators and enterprises are also facing up to the reality that sustainable design and operating practice are a mission critical component of the modern data centre. Going green is no longer an optional extra.
Data centres are becoming an increasingly critical foundation that underpins the modern world, and the demand for them continues to grow exponentially each year. Data centres must remain in constant operation in order to provide the services for which customers depend on them.
This mission critical need, combined with the sector-wide push towards reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint throughout the industry, is making the search for innovative evaporative media solutions that keep systems running at peak efficiency an equally mission critical priority.
The two main sources of energy consumption in a modern data centre are its IT equipment and the cooling infrastructure used to keep that equipment cool. A 2017 study found that energy consumption as the direct result of cooling data centre IT equipment can amount to over 40% of the total energy consumption in a facility. From air cooling to liquid and evaporative chillers, data centre operators, finding the right cooling solution for your facility is a top-of-mind goal for any data centre operator.
Portacool: keeping it Kuul
Based in Center, Texas, Portacool is a portable evaporative cooling solutions firm that has been pushing the boundaries of mission critical infrastructure cooling technology since it entered the market in 1990.
Through constant embodiment of its five brand pillars - Safety & Liability, Total Cost of Ownership, Productivity & Performance, Sustainability & Social Responsibility, and Life & Comfort Enhancing Solutions - Portacool has grown steadily over the past 30 years, continually reinforcing its reputation for industry-leading cooling solutions.
Portacool’s solutions have been successfully applied throughout the agricultural and horticultural, manufacturing, industrial, business, entertainment, sports, home, and hobby industries - “anywhere cooling is needed and traditional air conditioning is impractical or cost prohibitive.”
The company’s sub-brand, Kuul, is Portacool’s answer to the growing need for reliable, sustainable cooling solutions in the data centre sector. Portacool manufactures three series of evaporative media – Kuul Control, Kuul Vitality and Kuul Comfort. Kuul Control is used in data centres, power generation and HVAC systems. Kuul Vitality is utilised primarily in the horticulture, poultry and swine industries. Kuul Comfort is exclusively made for usage in Portacool-branded portable evaporative coolers.
Kuul can help data centre operators lower their PUE dramatically, increasing the environmental sustainability of their facilities significantly as a result of its rigid evaporative media solutions.