Dec 10, 2020

Google opens second data centre in the Netherlands

Data Centres
Harry Menear
3 min
The new facility, located in Middenmeer, brings Google’s total investment in its Netherlands data centre footprint to €2.5bn.
The new facility, located in Middenmeer, brings Google’s total investment in its Netherlands data centre footprint to €2.5bn...

Google has opened a new hyperscale cloud data centre in the Netherlands. The facility, located in the town of Middenmeer, 60km North of Amsterdam, is the tech giant’s second data centre in the country. 

The facility will be used to support Google services in Europe, like Mapps, Gmail and YouTube. 

“We are delighted that our datacenter in Middenmeer is now operational. We see that consumers and businesses are increasingly using online services, and this trend has even accelerated in recent times,” commented Martijn Bertisen, country manager for Google Netherlands. 

“That is why we invest in a digital infrastructure that works for everyone. Our total data center investment in the Netherlands has now reached €2.5bn, with which we also contribute to local employment and the economy.”

A new report by analytics firm Copenhagen Economics released today found that Google’s data centre investments have had a markedly positive impact on the Dutch economy. Between 2014 and 2019, the company’s investments of more than €2bn in its Eemshaven-Groningen and Agriport data centres created a net benefit of more than €3.6bn for the country’s GDP. 

Sustainable design

The Middenmeer data centre will be supported by four renewable power purchase agreements totalling 130MW, made with Delfzijl, a wind and solar park in the north-east of the country, as well as with two wind farms located in Zeeland, Krammer and Bouwdokken.

In a company statement, Bertisen added that, despite more than a decade of sharply rising demand, innovations in cooling, power and computing infrastructure have managed to keep Google’s data centres’ power demands relatively stable. 

“Of course we follow the discussions about data centers and energy consumption in the Netherlands and we understand the questions about this. I would therefore like to emphasise that we have managed to make data centers more and more efficient. Compared to five years ago, Google now gets about seven times as much computing power from the same amount of energy and the Google data centers are among the most energy efficient data centers worldwide,” he said. 

Google Middenmeer will reportedly use free cooling and recycle waste heat in order to warm its offices, as well as working to continue increasing efficiency and purchasing renewable power in line with the company's plans to go completely "carbon free" by 2030.  

Investing in the Netherlands

The Copenhagen Economics report notes that, between 2014 and 2019, Google’s investments in its Netherlands data centre infrastructure created an average of 3,400 jobs per year. The Middenmeer facility has reportedly continued to support job creation in the construction, cybersecurity and telecom sectors. 

When operational, the facility will employ 125 people full-time, and a planned expansion to the company’s Eemshaven data centre will bring its total staffing complement to 350 upon completion. 

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Jun 21, 2021

NUS and NTU launch cooling project for tropical data centres

3 min
A project by The Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore aims to find cooling solutions for tropical data centres

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have announced a project in an attempt to source and develop new cooling solutions for data centres located in tropical areas. According to the companies, the programme costs S$23mn (US$17.1mn) and plans to research, build and test innovative and sustainable cooling solutions. 

The Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT)

The NUS and NTU say that the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) will act as a research point and innovation hub for the project. Facebook, along with the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), is also involved, providing funding for the programme. Further support from other partners includes the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Ascenix, CoolestDC Keppel Data Centres, Red Dot Analytics, and New Media Express. 

Commenting on working with the companies, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure, Alex Johnson, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to partner NUS, NTU, Keppel Data Centres and the CoolestSG community to develop innovative solutions that reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of the average data centre, particularly those located in tropical areas like Singapore”. 

The NTU and NUS highlight that Singapore houses 60% of Southeast Asia’s total data centre market, and aims to supply 12% of the country’s total energy needs by 2030. This results in the need to reduce the carbon footprints and power consumption of data centres, meaning more innovative cooling solutions are required, the NTU and NUS said. 

Professor Chen Thuan, Deputy President of Research & Technology at the NUS, said: “Data centres are a critical enabler of the digital economy, but the average data centre can exert a significant environmental burden. Aligned with RIE 2025, sustainability is a key research focus of NUS, and our researchers have deep expertise in developing integrated solutions for tropical, urban and Asian settings”.

How will the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) help to provide cooling solutions?

According to the NUS and NTU, the STDCT will be built using equipment such as a novel desiccant-coated heat exchanger and a StatePoint Liquid Cooling System (SPLC) designed by both Nortek Air Solutions and Facebook. The institutions also say they will adopt chip-level hybrid cooling to ensure servers remain cool. 

Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will aim to manage the “smart operations” of the technologies so that the data centres are water and power efficient, as well as able to preserve equipment and servers. 

The NTU and NSU said in a joint statement the combination of the cooling technologies could reduce energy consumption “significantly” and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared to traditional air-cooled data centres. If adopted industry-wide across the entire tropical region, the energy usage of the data centre industry could potentially be lowered by at least 40%”, the companies said. 

The STDCT is expected to be operational by 1 October 2021.


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