Swedish Data Center Developer EcoDataCenter Unveils First Carbon-Positive Data Center
by Josh Anderson
FALUN, SWEDEN — Sweden’s EcoDataCenter, a provider of colocation data center solutions, is ready to provide the central Swedich city of Falun the world’s first climate-positive data center. After four years of development efforts, EcoDataCenter created 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.
To be climate positive means that there are no carbon emissions and that during operation it also promotes the reduction of total carbon emissions. Carbon-positive operation is maintained through green electricity and utilizing the surplus heat from the center in Falu Energi och Vatten’s local district heating networks and a wood pellet factory.
Lars Schedin, CEO of EcoDataCenter, said, “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.”
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 1.9 mW and will be operational in the autumn of 2018.
The continually increasing need for processing data considering 5G, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are the culprits behind the predicted 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.
Schedin of EcoDataCenter added, citing the example of the video for the megahit “Despacito,” which has now been shown more than 5 billion times on YouTube, “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. 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 tons of carbon dioxide — as much as 220,000 taxis release in an entire year.”
Data centers house a large number of data servers that process data, something that uses a lot of energy since the processing in itself requires energy, but also because the servers must be constantly cooled in order to function. 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.
Lars Thunell, Chairman of EcoDataCenter’s Board of Directors, said, “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. 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.”