Glacier-powered data centre makes pretty cool energy savings

The Lefdal Mine Data Centre is built in an old Norwegian mine and uses hydropower and wind energy to keep its servers running

By Jonny Bairstow

Could a data centre in Norway powered and cooled by glacial waters be Europe’s greenest facility of its kind?

ABB thinks so – the technology firm is responsible for the Lefdal Mine Data Centre’s energy usage and supplied its critical power infrastructure, which provides 300MW of clean energy generated by four hydropower stations and two wind farms.

The facility is built 150 metres into a mountain in what was formerly an underground mine for excavating olivine, a mineral used in steel production.

The data centre is located below sea level, eliminating the need for expensive and energy-intensive pumps to lift the fjord’s water to the cooling system’s heat exchangers.

The data centre’s cooling solution has a ‘power usage effectiveness’ score of between 1.08 and 1.15 for its 5kW rack, allowing it to achieve 40% energy savings over traditional data centres.

Mats Andersson, Marketing Director for the Lefdal Mine Data Centre, said: “Cooling is crucial, because these servers generate huge amounts of heat.

“Because water cooling is so efficient, these server containers can run up to 50kW of power, where you would normally expect just 7-8kW with traditional air cooling.”