By Matthew Broersma
The 'climate positive' data center is powered entirely by renewable energy, including steam generated by burning wood chips.
The Swedish mining city of Falun has become home to the first 'climate positive' data center, billed as having a negative carbon impact by virtue of its contribution to Falun's innovative municipal energy system.
The EcoDataCenter facility will contribute waste heat to heat Falun's homes and businesses via the city's municipal heating system, while excess steam from the local municipal combined heat and power plant will help drive the data center's cooling systems, according to the project.
EcoDataCenter will make use of a local power plant, operated by the city, which derives power entirely from renewable sources, including solar, wind and hydro power, as well as biomass fuel—that is, burning branches and wood chips from forestry waste, sawdust from local saw mills and old wooden furniture to generate steam which, in turn, drives a turbine.
The 18-megawatt data center will also benefit from the city's cool climate, which will provide free cooling from October to April, according to backers.
It is to comprise three buildings totaling 23,250m2 in all, with the first building set to begin operations in the first quarter of next year.
"The symbiosis between the data center and our energy systems will reduce carbon emissions so much that…Futureover the course of a year, it will have a positive impact on the environment," said Falu Energy & Water chief executive Bengt Gustafsson, in a statement. "We are building the world's first climate-positive data center."
Greener Means Cheaper
EcoDC, the start-up that will operate the facility, said its power efficiency also adds up to lower operating costs.
"The data center is significantly more energy efficient than regular data centers and the integration with the district heating and cooling system means that energy is used that otherwise would have been wasted," stated EcoDC co-founder Børge Granli. "All of this lowers the costs both for us and for our clients."
Schneider Electric is to supply technology and systems for the project. The companies released a YouTube video detailing EcoDataCenter ahead of its official launch at a planned public event on Thursday.
The backers also highlighted EcoDataCenter's high safety specifications, which are to be ranked as Tier IV —a certification only held by 12 other data centers worldwide—and its high guaranteed uptime. The facility is to have a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of less than 1.15, with eco-friendly buildings certified as LEED-Platinum.