Building the world’s most sustainable data center in 2022
Data centers make our modern, digitized lives efficient, comfortable, and entertaining, but there is a downside – they pollute as much as the world’s airline industry. Green Edge Compute is tackling this problem head-on by building the world’s most sustainable data center in 2022.
– We have been to trade fairs and conferences, both domestically and abroad, where we have talked to young environmental activists and students who walk around with their phones and are on Spotify, TikTok, and Snapchat all day and have no idea how this is impacting the environment. The data center industry is by far one of the biggest polluters in the world right now, says Patrik Hagelin, CCO, and Co-Founder of Green Edge Compute and adds:
– What we do for the IT industry is what Tesla did for the automotive industry.
Let’s get to know Green Edge Compute better.
So, what is Green Edge Compute?
In 2017, we launched the feasibility study that started our exciting journey. Together with leading industrial tech and consulting companies, we proved that we could create a smart, sustainable loop by placing the data center in the heart of the city. The excess heat from the data center provides the city with thermal energy before returning to the data center, cooling it down again.
The study demonstrated that a 100,000 square meters city powered by solar energy could produce 2 MW of renewable power to a liquid-cooled data center that generates almost 2 MW of heat back to the 100,000 square meters of buildings as a nearby ecosystem.
The feasibility study became the spark that ignited Green Edge Compute, and we have adapted the study to fit the existing infrastructure of today’s modern cities. This is the concept behind Green Edge Compute.
We aim to build a new generation of green and sustainable data centers in urban areas and become an important contributor to the Nordic and international data center ecosystem.
Our datacenters will use innovative cooling technology that accommodates optimal use of excess heat and enables efficient energy utilization. The data centers will rely exclusively on renewable energy and consume up to 40 percent less energy than many traditional data centers. By leveraging efficient cooling technology, our data centers accommodate the utilization of excess heat that can be reused in city district heating systems.
Our first data center is currently under development in Trondheim, Norway, and will be in operation in 2022. In close collaboration with Trondheim municipality, the technology capital of Norway, the district heating system operator Statkraft Varme, SINTEF and the real-estate developer R. Kjeldsberg, we are developing the world’s most sustainable edge data center at Sluppen in Trondheim.
1. What are you doing right now?
Now we are focusing significantly on the pilot in Trondheim and the project with SINTEF so that everything will be ready when the equipment arrives. We have also entered an agreement with GK Group to help us plan, install, and service data center heat pumps, liquid cooling technology, and district heating system connections. They will be an excellent partner to have with us when we expand into the Scandinavian market. We also have plans to move forward with our partner CGI Norway. We are among other things partnering up on trade fairs, the first this year is Energy World in Stavanger in March. Here we will show some customer cases from the pilot in Trondheim. Exciting times!
2. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the future?
The possibilities are limitless! The capacity of our data centers will use the highest security solutions, latest processor technology, lower latency, and world-leading sustainable solutions. We are already being recognized by other providers in the market and they see the potential that lies within us and wishes to join. We seek collaboration with all the players in the industry. As long as we join forces, they can grow almost limitless and be an important part of the green shift.
The challenge is that this is capital demanding, there are large sums that you must constantly handle and be at the forefront of. We are fortunate to have the right partners with us so that we can work with them in the future and think long-term.
3. How is Green Edge Compute working to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050?
That is our whole mission and what our data center is built for. To meet the future technology demands in a sustainable way. Local green compute capacity and storage for all. We use local renewable energy, so we start at zero emissions, and then we measure all CO2 savings. Our datacenter is like a plus house – a plus datacenter. Use up to 40% less energy, up to 90% less space, and reuse up to 90% av all energy. All our customers will be able to see their own CO2 savings live. We want to be an important part of the solution for an industry that is extremely energy-intensive. Green Edge Compute is the first player to have a holistic view of sustainable Edge data centers. You could say that what we do for the IT industry is what Tesla did for the automotive industry.
4. What keeps you awake at night with regards to the energy transition?
This project here has kept me awake and reminded me of what is going on in the world. I think that even though it is important that everyone contributes in small ways, in the end, it is the political decisions that will make a difference. If the politicians change the rules – the market will follow. It is amazing how adaptable the market is. For example, with the EU taxonomy listed companies will be held accountable for their sustainability model. The projects aiming to solve the problem will receive the funding required. I am absolutely convinced that our project is something that will help us grow in the future because funds will be available, and the market is adapted to support these types of projects.
5. What do you think will be the most valuable thing about being a member of Energy Valley?
We have worked with ABB, and they were the ones that told us that we should join Energy Valley. There are a lot of exciting actors in the cluster, and many whom we have collaborated with, such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Glitre Energi, SINTEF, and Siemens Energy. There are many exciting actors in the cluster, and I hope that we can find many new partners and companies to collaborate with in the future.
6. What inspires you in the way you lead?
I am inspired by leaders who make a difference. There are far too many who are just stuck in an excel sheet, where reporting becomes the most important task. When I worked as a manager in Telenor Media, we worked according to a principle called “manage the people, not the numbers” which I think is an important mantra.
I am fascinated and inspired by leaders who can see outside the box. I believe it is in human nature to follow others and continue with what works. Some very few can think completely new and take the risk to go for it. History has shown that it can be both success and failure, but without them, we will never succeed, for example, with the green shift. What Steve Jobs did with the iPhone or Elon Musk with Tesla is an example where a leader creates a whole new presidency for an entire market. My dream is that the Green Edge Compute will do exactly that.
7. Which Energy Valley member do you want to pass the baton on to?
Anyone who can inspire me😊
Thank you, Patrik!