Green Edge Compute and the municipality of Trondheim have come together to develop the world’s most sustainable data center.
The technology capital of Norway, Trondheim, is at the forefront of the Smart City transformation. Through the EU-funded project +CityxChange, Trondheim develops innovative and sustainable energy solutions by implementing Positive Energy Blocks (PEBs), geographically limited areas that consume less energy than what is locally produced. One of these PEBs is currently under development in Sluppen, Trondheim, where Green Edge Compute aims to build the world’s most sustainable data center.
The new data center will rely exclusively on renewable energy and consume close to 40 percent less energy than traditional data centers. By leveraging efficient cooling technology, the data center accommodates the utilization of excess heat that can be reused in Trondheim’s district heating system.
Kristian Dahlberg Hauge, municipal executive in Trondheim, firmly believes in the positive benefits of developing sustainable urban areas and neighborhoods and is excited about the project and the collaboration with Green Edge Compute.
– Sluppen is one of Trondheim’s large developmental urban areas, quickly transforming into a sustainable, zero-emission district for private sector companies, public sector organizations, and private residences. Collaborating with innovative companies such as Green Edge Compute will help us realize our ambitious sustainability goals, he says.
For Green Edge Compute, this collaboration will help prove the feasibility of their new approach to data center development.
– The project in Sluppen, Trondheim, will help us demonstrate the feasibility and environmental benefits of our new data center model and allow us to build a setup that can be replicated in other cities and locations. We are developing a blueprint for the next generation of data centers where we can utilize high-performance computing and edge computing, Patrik Hagelin, Chief Commercial Officer in Green Edge Compute, says.
A Need for Sustainable Edge Data Centres
With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G networks, a new breed of small, high-performance, and low-latency data centers located close to the end-user becomes increasingly important.
Equally important is a focus on developing sustainable data center solutions. Globally, the data center industry emits a total carbon footprint equivalent to the entire airline industry. Early predictions estimates that data center energy consumption will make up 3,2 percent of total carbon emissions globally by 2025 and 14 percent in 2040.
Green Edge Compute aspire to accommodate these needs and become an important contributor to the Nordic and international data center ecosystem. They aim to build green data centers in urban areas and leverage efficient cooling technology that enables optimal utilization of excess heat and efficient energy usage.
– Nordic data center operators generally have a high focus on delivering sustainable services, and we want to become a positive addition to an already distinguished Norwegian data center industry. We want to push the limits of available technology to achieve even higher energy utilization, generate even more excess heat, and contribute to making the industry even more sustainable, Hagelin says.
Feeding District Heating Systems with Excess Heat
To realize their sustainable edge data center concept, Green Edge Compute use the traditional data center model as a starting point but transform it, Hagelin explains.
– We ensure that the data center only consumes renewable energy and reuse 90 percent of all the generated energy in the data center. Additionally, we use liquid cooling instead of traditional air-cooling methods which enable us to reduce the size of our data centers.
Using water cooling, Green Edge Compute’s data centers can reduce the power to cool servers up to 90 percent and reduce total energy consumption up to 40 percent. Additionally, water cooling provides a range of other benefits, Hagelin continues.
– Water cooling generates excess heat as a by-product. We can distribute this excess heat directly to district heating systems as a sustainable heating product. Up to 90 percent of the energy can be reused as heat.
For Trondheim municipality, Green Edge Compute’s novel approach to data center development was a key factor when choosing a collaborator for the project in Sluppen, Trondheim.
– The need for low latency and energy re-usage made Green Edge Compute an interesting partner for the project in Sluppen. They are offering a full-worthy sustainable data center with the advantage of low latency by setting up the data center in an urban area, Bjørn Villa, IT manager in Trondheim municipality, says.
Trondheim municipality is already planning the migration of traditional computing services to the data center as part of the start-up process.
– We are putting the data center into operation this year and will begin migrating our services shortly thereafter to gain experience and generate heat. Ultimately, we want to migrate our most computing-intensive services to Green Edge Computer’s data center to generate as much energy and reuse as much excess heat as possible, Villa points out.
Villa is excited about the project and confident that it will turn out to be a success.
– We are part of a larger social, technological and sustainable development process and are pleased to be working with Green Edge Compute. We believe in their concept. But in any case, I believe the project will be a success because it will be a source of new experience, knowledge, and insight.
Local Collaborations, Global Ambitions
The new data center in Trondheim is just the beginning. During the next years, Green Edge Compute will introduce its concept to other Scandinavian cities before turning abroad.
– We have global ambitions. If the concept works in Trondheim, it will work in other locations as well, Hagelin concludes.