Sustainable Data Centers

image: Green and Smart Data Centers Network Design

GreenDataNet

Green and Smart Data Centers Network Design

~ Project Website

The Internet today is a busy stream of unending data transmissions. This is a corollary of the proliferation of mobile devices, streaming apps, and the sprouting of innumerable data centers worldwide. While this has resulted in a closely woven world, it has also contributed to a data explosion that is making increasing demands on available resources, particularly energy. In order to convert the existing data environment into a sustainable model, the GreenDataNet project was conceptualized three years ago with funding from The European Commission.

The lead player in the project is power management company Eaton, but the consortium also includes the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Nissan, ICTroom, Credit Suisse, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, and the University of Trento.

The project aims to tackle the twin problems of energy and emissions associated with the growth of urban data centers. It recognizes the need for innovation and collaboration between industry players on the one hand and leading academic organizations on the other.

In the energy sector, there is an increasing role of renewable energy, which is helping drive energy prices down and reducing GHG emissions. However, there is a lurking danger that in case the balance between renewable energy and the grid goes awry, it could result in major turbulences in the energy sector.

That’s where the GreenDataNet project expects to play a major role by assimilating data from several datacenters in a smart grid, and taking into consideration key factors like power grid availability, energy cost, and availability of renewable power at a particular locality. It seeks to reduce dependency on the grid and increase the use of renewable energy by tapping local photovoltaic energy in the form of a large-scale energy storage solution.

In the final analysis, the project aims to establish significant efficiency gains for data centers, increase the role of renewable energy in the power mix, and thus open new marketing opportunities for storing and sharing energy optimally.