EU wants to reboot data centres with renewable energy

How do you design data centres so they can make better use of renewable energy? That’s the question posed by researchers in a new EU-backed project with a budget of […]

By Vicky Ellis

How do you design data centres so they can make better use of renewable energy?

That’s the question posed by researchers in a new EU-backed project with a budget of £3 million.

High profile tech firms such as Facebook and Google are using renewable energy to power their data centres – but others are not necessarily following, according to the researchers.

Dr Jaume Salom, project co-ordinator of the RenewIT project said: “The main roadblocks to using renewable energy to power datacentres are the perceived costs and the lack of tools to help operators make decisions about renewable energy.”

RenewIT wants to help operators develop a “more compelling” business case for using solar, wind energy and biomass at data centre sites.

It will also look at renewable cooling options, including outside air cooling and sea water cooling.

Dr Salom added: “This project aims to overcome some of these obstacles by designing tools to evaluate the environmental performance and the share of renewable energy sources in the emerging concept of Net Zero Energy datacentres.”

Working with eight existing sites across Europe, researchers will build an online planning tool to help owners understand the costs of building with renewable power.

As more work and communication moves online, the volume of information we store in drives is swiftly rising. There’s been a nine-fold increase in digital information created and shared over the last five years, show figures charting recent internet trends.