Microsoft Sweden data centres to use low-carbon fuel
Microsoft has announced that its data centres in Sweden will be powered by low carbon fuel, receiving a supply of the fuel from the Swedish petroleum and biofuels company, Preem. Microsoft claims that the new cloud region based in Sweden will be among the “most sustainably designed and operated in the world” as it aims to achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
The fuel, called Preem Evolution Diesel Plus, will be available as an option for powering backup generators at the company’s Swedish data centres, Microsoft said. The organisation also says that a reason for choosing Preem is due to the contents of the fuel which includes “at least 50% renewable raw material”.
Talking about the importance of sustainable fuels and renewable energy, Noelle Walsh Corporate Vice President of Cloud Operations and Innovation at Microsoft, said: “While diesel fuel accounts for less than 1% of our overall emissions, we believe it is important to help accelerate the global transition away from fossil fuels and a step to help drive demand for sustainably-sourced, low-carbon fuels”.
Increasing the sustainability of the cloud industry
Used as a backup power supply in data centres, generators have used conventional fossil-based fuels as a power source for a while. However, Microsoft says that the move represents the first time a cloud service provider has intended to introduce a more sustainable fuel such as Preem Evolution Diesel Plus. The project will also be completed in collaboration with a second generator supplier, Caterpillar.
Mark Monroe, a Principal Engineer for Microsoft’s Data Centre Advanced Development team, admits that the company rarely uses diesel generators for its data centres. “We don’t use the diesel generators very much. We start them up once a month to make sure they run and give them a load test once a year to make sure we can transfer a load to them correctly, but on average they cover a power outage less than one time per year”, he said.
By acquiring Preem Evolution Diesel Plus, Microsoft says that it expects “at least 45% lower net carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional diesel fuel”. Christian Bjerdén, VP Head of Sales at Preem, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership. He said: “Preem wants to be part of the transition to sustainability and today invests significant resources in developing the market's most sustainable fuels. We are extremely pleased that Microsoft has chosen to collaborate with us in its journey toward becoming carbon dioxide negative by 2030. The collaboration with Microsoft and Caterpillar bodes well for the future".
Noelle Walsh concluded that Microsoft will “continue to innovate and partner to create and implement viable solutions to eliminate dependency on traditional diesel fuels” as the company looks towards its 2030 sustainability goals. While no official launch date has been confirmed for the integration of the fuel, Walsh added that the company “looks forward to sharing more progress on this journey along the way”.
LCL acquires ENGIE Solutions data centre in Gembloux
The data centre company LCL has announced today that it has acquired the ENGIE solutions data centre in Gembloux, Belgium through the acquisition of Cofely data solutions. The new facility, called Wallonia One, is the company’s first facility in Wallonia. As part of the agreement, LCL will take over the management of the facility’s employees as well as the data centre itself. The value of the acquisition is undisclosed.
LCL says that Wallonia One is its fifth data centre in the Belgian market and its second acquisition, after purchasing the Atos data centre in Huizingen in April last year. Laurens van Reijen, CEO of LCL, said: “With this fifth data centre, we are increasing our presence on the market. Gembloux is located in the heart of the Walloon economy. As a result, LCL Wallonia One offers excellent connection possibilities for the business sites and parks throughout Wallonia.
“Thanks to our other strategic sites located in the four corners of the Brussels and Antwerp peripheries, we can ensure that any company will have close links with other regions in our country”, van Reijen said.
Four employees under a fixed contract with Cofely Data Solutions will be joining the LCL team for the acquisition. Remaining part of the LCL Wallonia One, the employees will be under the leadership of their current manager, Nicolas Coppée, LCL said.
“We warmly welcome our four new colleagues and their support will be effectively integrated,” said Laurens van Reijen. “LCL is still strongly driven by service and quality. We intend not only to build synergies between our five data centres but also to introduce some innovations. Our current team of 37 employees is specialised in data centre services. So this is a win-win-win operation: for the customers of data centres, for ENGIE Solutions, and for LCL”.
Wallonia One’s “solar park”
LCL also says that the Wallonia One data centre features a solar park to provide power for the facility. The park includes 2,000 photovoltaic panels which generate 1MW of electricity, LCL claims. The centre also has a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.25, in line with the company’s sustainability and efficiency objectives.
Committed to making all of its data centres carbon-neutral by 2030, LCL has created the “Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact” across Europe, which consists of 24 companies and 17 associations.
In addition to Wallonia One, LCL and ENGIE Solutions have also concluded a collaboration agreement, thus enabling ENGIE Solutions to build new data centres for LCL. There are also plans for ENGIE Solutions to advise LCL on energy efficiency, given ENGIE’s experience in such projects.