by Carolyn Harrington 10 June 2020
‘What makes SpaceDC’s data center even more energy efficient and resilient is its use of onsite gas generators as opposed to relying on the local electric grid as a power source, which is the traditional energy source for most Indonesian data centers.’
Organizations all over the globe are facing a common challenge: reversing the negative environmental trend of high energy consumption by their data centers. With data centers coming under stricter regulations and corporations like Microsoft stating their intention to be carbon negative by 2030, companies are re-evaluating their green methodology – from questioning their suppliers about their carbon footprint to redefining those calculations.
The green data center today is no longer just a “best effort” attempt to protect the environment but a crucial business critical endeavor as organizations and consumers of e-commerce rely on more cloud computing resources each day. Increasingly, data centers are going green by leveraging alternative energy sources, all with the common goal of optimizing energy performance and reducing environmental impact.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the innovations green data centers around the world have come up with to ensure power effectiveness:
1. Microsoft’s underwater data center, which uses submarine technology
Microsoft has developed a self-sufficient underwater data center that leverages technology from submarines to deliver lightning-quick cloud services to coastal cities.
2. Apple’s North Carolina data center relies on its own power generating facilities
Apple’s data center in North Carolina combines two 100-acre solar farms with a multiple fuel cell electricity generator using biogas from nearby landfills.
3. Facebook’s hydropower plant in northern Sweden
Taking advantage of existing hydropower, Facebook’s data center in Lulea, Sweden runs 100 percent on locally generated renewable energy. Additionally, it uses natural free cooling from the outside air to cool down the racks that carry data and perform the transactions for today’s digital economies.
4. SpaceDC’s natural gas-powered green data center campus
Strategically located within the Jakarta metropolitan area and adjacent to two major gas pipelines, Jakarta’s first green data center campus taps on Indonesia’s natural gas supply to produce electricity to power its premises, producing less carbon emissions compared to coal powered grid. It is the first data center to utilize Jakarta’s natural gas network to produce electricity.
What makes SpaceDC’s data center even more energy efficient and resilient is its use of onsite gas generators as opposed to relying on the local electric grid as a power source, which is the traditional energy source for most Indonesian data centers. The onsite gas generators setup at SpaceDC’s campus will suffer no distribution losses as it does not need to transmit the electricity over long distances. On top of that, the data center is able to recycle waste heat from the gas generators by passing it through a heat exchanger in the absorption chillers, producing more chilled water for its Cold Room Air Conditioners which then cools down the data center halls.
Arrangements like these are by no means easily replicable across the world – for sure, not every data center will benefit from the same rich source of fuel as SpaceDC’s campus in Indonesia; nor can all data centers take advantage of a cooler climate, especially in tropical Southeast Asian regions where temperatures are warm all year round. However, for markets that are able to make the most of their natural surroundings, these innovative solutions can lay the foundation for a sustainable and energy-efficient hub for cloud services, reducing the environmental impact of data centers.
Chief Operating Officer