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Around the Alliance #5: Low carbon power consumption for data centers
Events
18 Nov 2021

Around the Alliance #5: Low carbon power consumption for data centers

Daan Terpstra
Daan Terpstra

We hosted our 5th Around the Alliance session live on LinkedIn on Tuesday, 16 November at 15:00 CET.

What was the session about?

Data centers are under pressure to decarbonize without compromising uptime, resilience, and cost. Our expert panel discussed the challenges and opportunities, sharing their insights on the many trends happening right now in the data center energy consumption space.

Key takeaways

  • Today still there is no such thing as carbon-neutral renewable power supply. In order to become climate-neutral you have to find solutions for capturing, utilizing, or storing carbon.
  • There is no difference in power quality between renewable and fossil-fuel sources.
  • Consider energy as a system and factor in distribution losses.
  • There were various perspectives on back-up generators ranging from data centers still need them, but powered by green energy, to they are not needed dependent on the data center set up - availability requirements and workloads.
  • It is essential to find new and innovative ways of reusing waste heat, together with transparent metrics as an industry standard.
  • Building a circular economy around data centers is a long-term solution, achievable with vision and a lot of collaboration with multiple parties.
  • For sustainable data centers in the future, hydrogen fuel cells are on the brink of scalability.
  • Potential changes for making data centers greener: using laminated wood, liquid cooling, renewable back-up power generation, waste heat reuse, and energy-efficient software.

Attendees

This Around the Alliance session was moderated by our Director of Policy & Research, Mohan Gandhi, and featured six panelists with amazing insights into the data center industry and the topic of low carbon power consumption:

Want to join the work on the collaborative White Paper?

Join us in Stockholm on the practical workshop focused on the technical & financial barriers and opportunities around on-site low-carbon power generation in data centers. Together with workshop sponsors - Legrand and Vattenfall we have invited all the parties involved in the value chain, including regulators, policy-makers, industry players, universities, and research centers, to join us in shaping the actionable solutions and setting the basis for in-depth project research. The workshop is free to attend and includes canapes. The number of seats is limited, please book via the following link »

Content of the ATA session

We started with a warm welcoming from our moderator Mohan Gandhi, and short introductions from our six panelists, followed by an in-depth discussion facilitated by Mohan and contributory questions from the audience. Timestamps for the questions and topics we discussed below:

  • General introduction 0:00
  • Introduction of the panelists 0:52
  • How do we make data centers greener? What are data centers currently doing? 4:32
  • What are the panelists' opinions on using market-based mechanisms for the procurement of renewable energy? 13:08
  • Is there a difference between the types of incoming power for data centers? 16:15
  • With a very resilient grid Vattenfall has in Sweden, will it be possible one day to mitigate the need for stand-by generators? 19:09
  • What can data centers do to reuse the energy that they emit? Is there an appropriate metric to capture that? 26:16
  • What are the challenges people face with capturing waste heat? Can these challenges be resolved earlier in the design phase? 28:55 
  • Overview of the forthcoming SDIA Workshop in Stockholm 32:10
  • What are the future tools and technologies data centers can use to become more sustainable? 33:20
  • On-site power generation 42:40
  • What is stopping a new type of SLA? 50:14
  • If the panelists could change one thing to make data centers greener, what would that be? 51:57

Bringing together a knowledgeable panel with varied perspectives generated an interesting discussion, expert insights, and an engaged audience. Enjoy watching the recording via the link at the top of the page. A big thank you to Andreas, Armin, Fiete, Lars, Niek, and Rob for joining us, as well as everyone that attended this event!

We are looking forward to our 6th Around the Alliance session on 26 January 2022.

If you don't want to miss the next Around the Alliance session, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you are interested in being a panelist for the next event, please reach out to us at: [email protected].

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