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World’s first carbon-positive data centre due to be powered on

04 Oct 2018

Data centres are power-hungry beasts which has seen the skyrocketing rise of renewable energy and ‘green’ data centres.

Now, Sweden-based EcoDataCenter has announced the launch of what it purports to be the world’s first climate positive data centre. Being climate positive means that not only are there no carbon emissions, but also during operations it even promotes the reduction of total carbon emissions.

Why is this significant?

Well, research from various researchers has forecast data centres to suck up around a fifth of the world’s total energy production within the next 10 years, as a result of increasingly data-intensive day-to-day activities. For instance according to Gartner, there will be more than 20 billion connected objects by 2020.

Furthermore, while there has been a renewable energy revolution, EcoDataCenter asserts fossil fuel sources still account for around two thirds of the world’s production of electricity – putting data centres at risk at becoming one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions.

EcoDataCenter says four years of development has gone into its climate positive facility that is integrated with the surrounding energy ecosystem to reuse the heat generated. The facility uses green electricity with its waste heat used for local district heating networks and a wood pellet factory.

 “The technical design of the data centre will be a crucial issue going forward, since it has a tremendous impact on both environment and costs, and we see a very large market for our technology,” says EcoDataCenter CEO Lars Schedin.

For example, Schedin quotes a video on YouTube that has generated more than 5 billion views.

“Naturally, one person watching a video on the Internet has a marginal impact, but when several million do it several times, the total energy consumption is very large — something most of us barely think about,” says Schedin.

“This means that viewing this video alone has consumed energy equivalent to an estimated 850 GWh. If we start from the fact that it has been viewed around the globe, it is reasonable to assume that this in turn has involved emissions of approximately 360,000 tons of carbon dioxide — as much as 220,000 taxis release in an entire year.”

Schedin is confident in the company’s climate positive data centre approach, as well as the Sweden’s position as a data centre hub with several major players already setting up base there, including Facebook and Google.

“Interest in the facility in Falun is enormous, and we have had visits from customers around the world even though it’s not really ready,” says EcoDataCenter’s board of directors chairman Lars Thunell.

“Everything points to it being a major success, and we are therefore counting on the need to build a large number of facilities of this type, both in Sweden and abroad, to successfully meet interest and demand.”

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