HomeIndustry SectorsEnergy EfficiencyWorld’s first carbon-positive data center kicks into operation

World’s first carbon-positive data center kicks into operation

Swedish developer of climate-positive data centers EcoDataCenter is launching the world’s first carbon-positive data center in Falun in central Sweden.

The firm notes that with data centers expected to consume around 20% of the world’s energy within only a few years, the deployment of energy efficient data centers is essential.

After four years of development efforts, Sweden’s EcoDataCenter, a provider of colocation data center solutions, has managed to create a data center that is integrated with the surrounding energy ecosystem to reuse the heat generated and create the world’s first climate positive data center; Being climate positive means that not only are there no carbon emissions, but that during operation it even promotes the reduction of total carbon emissions. Read more: Apple now globally powered by 100% renewable energy

The firm explains that carbon-positive operation is achieved through green electricity and using the surplus heat from the center in Falu Energi och Vatten’s local district heating networks and a wood pellet factory.

During the warmer months, the surplus energy in the district heating network is used for cooling the data center. The facility will have a total capacity of 1.9MW and will be put into operation in the autumn of 2018.

“The technical design of the data center 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,” said Lars Schedin, CEO of EcoDataCenter.

The steadily increasing need for processing data in the wake of 5G, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are what lie behind the expected rise in the energy consumption of data centers. According to Gartner, a leading Internet analyst, there will be more than 20 billion connected objects by 2020, a figure that in the opinion of some commentators could increase to a full 100 billion as early as 2025.

Most of us, however, are likely unaware of the fact that our daily digital habits have a serious impact on the environment, according to Lars Schedin, CEO of EcoDataCenter.

“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, citing the example of the video for the megahit “Despacito,” which has now been shown more than 5 billion times on YouTube.

Schedin added: “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 tonnes of carbon dioxide — as much as 220,000 taxis release in an entire year.”

The Swedish firm explains that energy consumption constitutes one of the largest operating costs in a data center, and a facility with lower energy consumption will thereby have less of an impact on the environment and offer lower costs — something that is extremely attractive for both data companies and their customers. Read more: Facebook data centre to consume 100% wind power

“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,” Lars Thunell, Chairman of EcoDataCenter’s Board of Directors said.

Thunell added: “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.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.