Stonepeak commits $1bn to Digital Edge data centre platform
Headquartered in Singapore, the new platform aims to become the new APAC leader in delivering digital infrastructure platforms. Digital Edge will begin by making two initial investments in data centre projects in Japan, which the company identifies as one of its key markets.
The first investment is being made as part of a partnership with Keihanshin Building Co. and Kanden Energy Solution for the development of a 12MW facility in central Osaka. The second is reportedly taking the forms of a strategic partnership with ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, and will focus on the company’s Mejirozaka Data Centre in Tokyo.
“We are very excited to partner with Stonepeak and to have completed the initial capacity acquisitions to fulfill our vision of bridging the digital divide in the Asia-Pacific region,” said . “The transactions in Tokyo and Osaka give the platform a dual footprint offering to customers in Japan’s two primary data center markets.”
Lee steps into the CEO role at Digital Edge following a stint from 2005 to 2019 as President of Asia Pacific business. He is joined by several other individuals from the Equinix Asia team, including Kei Furuta, Andrew Rigoli and Jonathan Chou.
“The Asia Pacific digital infrastructure market is among the fastest growing in the world, with demand continuing to outpace supply,” commented Brian McMullen, Senior Managing Director at Stonepeak. “We are delighted to partner with Samuel and his team, who bring unparalleled experience and an exceptional track record of development, and are investing in Digital Edge to help us achieve our shared vision for the region.”
This isn’t Stonepeak’s first foray into the data centre industry. The company is a majority stakeholder in leading data centre services provider Cologix, and earlier this year acquired Xplornet Communications, which provides broadband connectivity in rural Canada.
NUS and NTU launch cooling project 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.