Powering a data center with renewable energy: dream or reality?
Nowadays, the energy consumption of a data center is immense. Current forecasts indicate that, in the near future, data centers will represent almost 25% of global energy consumption. They have great energy needs, since they are made up of a large number of servers that have to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
However, this consumption is not only intended to keep the servers operational, but energy is also needed for cooling, transformers and UPS, lighting and security elements, etc.
At a time when data center energy consumption is becoming a key issue, it is essential to consider new energy models. In addition, in times where energy is increasingly limited and there is a need to reduce CO2 emissions, certain companies are proposing new solutions.
This is the case of Atos, a French consulting firm and technology services company, and HDF Energy, a company that offers electricity from renewable energies, which have announced their joint plan to develop a solution to this problem.
It would be about using green hydrogen generated by renewable energies in the corresponding data centers. The idea would become a reality in 2023 and it would be the first solution in the market for data centers with high energy consumption workloads.
To make it possible, they will use technologies with artificial intelligence to optimize energy consumption. HDF Energy will be in charge of supplying a power plant to provide stable energy through its fuel cells. These cells will be fed with green hydrogen obtained from photovoltaic and wind farms.
Instead, Atos will offer software that will predict the power consumption needs of the data center. It will be able to adapt the hydrogen consumption of the data center. This process will be based on both the activity and the size of the data center, as well as external data such as weather forecasts.
In addition, Atos aims to complete its decarbonization process in 2028. Last year it reduced the energy consumption of its facilities by 15% compared to 2019, and currently more than half of its data centers consume energy carbon free.
As mentioned, the amount of energy consumed by data centers is huge. That is why it is expected that initiatives like this will be more and more recurrent and we will progress towards a future where renewable energies are more present in the technology sector.
Claudia Piera Garrigosa