According to Tate Cantrell, the Chief Technology Officer of Verne Global, the Data Centre industry has a real need for a clean energy solution that drives down overall cost. Iceland, he believes, offers such a solution.
Verne Global is constructing a green data centre in the Asbru community of education and entrepreneurs on the former NATO military base in southwest Iceland next to the Keflavik International Airport. Since the US military left the base in autumn 2006, the area has seen an impressive revitalisation as a student campus and a technology park.
In addition to Verne Global, the Asbru area has been attracting attention from other industrial companies interested in investing in sustainability and green innovation using clean energy from Icelandic hydroelectric and geothermal energy sources. A clean energy research lab (Keilir) and a clean energy business incubator (Eldey) are all a part of the area’s strategy of creating a clean technology business park.
In his article on greendatacenternews.org, Cantrell says: “With energy costs fluctuating and going up more than down, and data centers consuming a tremendous amount of energy there is a real need in the market for a green innovation solution that reduces energy and drives down overall cost. Data centers have historically required large, expensive chilling systems to keep all of the equipment at a regulated temperature. Now more than ever, companies are scrambling to find ways to reduce dependencies on the status quo and become more energy efficient all around.
“Iceland is the perfect environment for 100% free cooling, 365 days of the year. The mean annual temperature is -0.5°C (30°F) in January and 10°C (50°F) in July. Iceland is very much its own cooling system, standing by to draw the heat right out the computer servers.
“Other than just serving as a natural refrigerator, Iceland’s environment also provides some less publicized advantages that greatly benefit our customers at Verne Global. Using power generated by Iceland’s very accessible pockets of underground steam, we are able to utilize an extremely inexpensive source of electricity. As some data centers struggle to accommodate power densities as low as four to five kilowatts per rack – with high cooling costs – ours can handle 15-20 kW, thanks to good old Mother Nature’s sustainability. With a continuous supply of naturally chilled water, Iceland can also accommodate next generation water cooling for higher density data center racks simply and inexpensively making it perfectly suited for a direct water-cooled environment.”
Tate Cantrell is the Chief Technology Officer of Verne Global. His primary responsibilities include product design and development and data centre operations. Mr. Cantrell has been involved in data centres and other high tech facilities for more than 15 years, starting as a research programmer for computational modelling on biomedical applications.