Founder and Managing Member, Wyoming Hyperscale
“You've got a situation where the entire power generation is decarbonised. You've got a data centre that's 50% more efficient from a power consumption standpoint than air-cooled data centres. And it consumes no water.”
That is Trenton Thornock, Founder and Managing Member of Wyoming Hyperscale White Box, speaking. His project, set on a family plot of land owned by him and six other siblings, is the site of an indoor farming project and one of the world’s most innovative data centre projects.
Thornock’s career has taken him across the world in senior roles, accruing the acumen and connections to rapidly pull together a project like Wyoming Hyperscale, which has key partners in its construction, planning and client base.
“My background as a CFO had me doing large scale industrial developments all over the world,” says Thornock. “I've built plants in China, started businesses in Russia and South America, and just everywhere else you can imagine.”
Wyoming Hyperscale is Thornock’s purpose-driven mission and feels like a grand opus to a career of formidable industry and business relationships.
“If I were to build this from scratch and hire all of these people,” explains Thornock, “first of all, it probably wouldn't be possible. And even if I had all the money in the world and it was possible to get all of these people to leave their current organisations and join me at a startup, it would take years to put together this team.
Lumen Technologies, a Fortune 500 telecoms company, joins J.M. Gross Engineering (and its owner John Gross), engineering firm BCER and smart data centre solutions firm Submer as key partners in the project.
Maximising technological benefits from the ground up
The project uses resources on site, taps into renewable sources and maximises the use of an ideal situation by, frankly, making sure it is ideal from the start of design.
Benefits of the set-up run deep and by building the concept from the ground-up, Thornock can maximise the benefits of using LIC to speed up construction.
“One of the benefits we get from liquid cooling is we don't have to hang a lot of stuff overhead, so all that HVAC equipment goes away,” says Thornock. “We still have pipes where we have to move the heat, but those can be on the floor, which means we don't have a lot of suspended stuff overhead.
“That has a knock on effect in the engineering, in that our data halls are clear span, metal buildings. To build a clear span metal building on a concrete slab takes less than three months.”
The core benefit, though, is that switching from air cooling to Liquid Cooling reduces cost 95%. The energy Wyoming Hyperscale does use, though, is also green.
“We'll be on one of the first completely decarbonised, non-hydro grids in North America,” says Thornock. “So now you've got a situation where the entire power generation is decarbonised. You've got a data centre that's 50% more efficient from a power consumption standpoint than air-cooled data centres. And it consumes no water.”
Thornock has also made sure the project is linked into key data centre clusters and is using fibre in the area that is lying unused.
“I think that it's important to note for people who want to understand the project that even though we're still in the construction phase, through our partnership with Lumen, we've activated a lot of the dark fibre that was already terminated near the site,” says Thornock.
Wyoming Hyperscale is a case study in key corporate agendas for the 2020s. Thornock, in building a project that feels like a personal expression of a business ideal, has managed to satisfy all of them.
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We can't be very much more CO2 efficient because we have pushed the laws of physics to the point where you can't change physics.