How Operators Can Utilise Sustainable Solutions to Achieve a Carbon Free Future For Data Centres And The Benefits of Doing So

The digital infrastructure industry faces a significant challenge today – the growing demand for data and the pressing reality of climate change. As the global data and digital infrastructure field continues to expand, it’s crucial it does so responsibly and sustainably. In response to this urgent need, data centre operators are adopting a two-pronged energy sustainability strategy. Firstly, they are striving to match their energy consumption with 100% renewable energy sources. Secondly, they are exploring the concept of running their operations 24/7 on carbon-free, locally generated renewable energy.

In addition to these core strategies, data centres have numerous other avenues to reduce their carbon footprint, water consumption, waste generation, and energy loss. By increasing energy efficiency and minimising thermal losses, data centres can achieve uptime while simultaneously saving energy. Carbon-free energy solutions can be realised by developing power systems that facilitate a shift to a hydrogen-powered ecosystem. Water consumption can be reduced through the adoption of new thermal configurations with optimised water usage effectiveness. Lastly, embracing solutions that are more resource-efficient, upgradable, recyclable, or refurbishable can help reduce overall data centre waste.

Transitioning to a carbon-free future involves a series of steps that data centres can follow:

  1. Match Energy Use with Renewable Energy: Data centres should prioritise sourcing their energy needs from renewable sources to reduce their carbon emissions.
  2. Focus on Increasing Utilisation and Efficiency: By increasing the efficiency of power usage and equipment, data centres can optimise their operations while saving energy.
  3. Shift Away from Utility Power: Moving away from utility power as the primary energy source is crucial. This can be achieved through innovative tactics and technologies.
  4. Adopt Vertiv’s Lithium-ion battery UPS’s have a smaller footprint and a longer life than lead acid.

Transitioning to data centre carbon neutrality yields multiple benefits aside from the obvious environmental advantages, these include but are not limited to:

  • Expanded capacity: Utilising critical power systems efficiently can expand available power capacity, reducing the need for additional capacity.
  • Lower costs: Optimisation measures can lead to cost reductions. As clean energy costs decrease, operators can optimise their energy sources based on multiple factors.
  • Increased location flexibility: Becoming energy-independent allows data centres to locate in various markets without excessive dependence on local utilities.

In conclusion, transitioning to a carbon-free data centre is not only a step towards environmental responsibility but also a strategic advantage. By integrating sustainable technologies, particularly hydrogen fuel cells, into their critical infrastructure, operators can decrease their dependence on conventional carbon-based energy sources while achieving their annual PUE target.

One key benefit of these sustainable systems is their cost-effectiveness over time, thanks to their high efficiency rates and reduced maintenance requirements compared to combustion-based fuels. Moreover, reducing reliance on carbon-based energy sources gives data centre operators a competitive edge in the short term. By investing in sustainable solutions, they can distinguish themselves from competitors and showcase their dedication to achieving sustainability goals.

Considering the multitude of benefits, any data centre aiming to decrease its reliance on carbon energy should strongly consider adopting a carbon-free strategy.