“Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases through the use of Bitcoin. We are concerned about the rapidly growing use of fossil fuels for mining and transactions”: this is how Elon Musk’s tweet of 13 May announced that he had given up bitcoins at least until their environmental impact had been reduced. But it is not only Bitcoins that are emitting an exponential amount of CO2 into the atmosphere: the entire internet world has to deal with this problem, and at the head of this IT infrastructure are data centers.
Here’s what you need to know about their environmental impact, the possible solutions and a great new product from IBT Group and Capstone Green Energy, which aims to make data centers more energy efficient!
Data centers: the dilemma of considerable CO2 emissions
What are data centers in the first place? They are buildings that house huge amounts of servers, storage (data filing systems) and devices that ensure the operation of an IT infrastructure. In order to keep these centers running 24/7, not only is a considerable amount of energy required, but also cooling systems to counteract the heat that is given off. These days, they are getting bigger, more numerous and more efficient, but they also consume more and more energy to operate. This problem was already apparent ten years ago and, to date, the CO2 emissions from the internet amount to some 1.7-1.8 billion tonnes. To give an example, at the end of 2018, the Bitcoin network was responsible for the emission of up to 22.9 million tonnes of CO2 per year. And the forecasts are not optimistic: by 2025 in fact, one fifth of the world’s energy consumption will be attributable to the ICT sector according to a study published in the Guardian by researcher Anders Andrae. It is also estimated that 3% of CO2 emissions will be attributable to data centers in the next four years. If on the one hand technological development is positive in terms of innovation, which heralds an increasingly smart future, on the other hand it is negative in terms of the consequences that these data centers have on the environment, and therefore on the future of our planet.
Possible energy efficiency solutions applicable to data centers
In order to solve the problem of CO2 emissions from data centers, it is necessary to go down new paths in the name of sustainability from the outset; the solutions currently being exploited in this regard involve the use of renewable energy or self-production of energy. Google, for example, has been using only clean energy to power its data centers since 2017, and plans to be completely independent of fossil fuels by 2030. Aruba, on the other hand, has distinguished itself for the design of green data centers: above all, the Global Cloud Data Center stands out, the largest data center campus in Italy in Ponte San Pietro (Bergamo), which uses its own hydroelectric power station and a photovoltaic system for the entire energy supply, foreseeing the release into the atmosphere of almost 18 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year. If, therefore, the electricity consumed by the data centers came 100% from renewable sources, then they would be 100% green. And, according to research by MarketsandMarkets, the market for sustainable data centers will be worth 140.3 billion by 2026: a goal we can start working towards today.
IBT Group and Capstone Green Energy: big news on the way…
IBT Group, together with its partner Capstone Green Energy, a world leader in turbine technology with more than 100 registered patents, aware that the problem of CO2 emissions due to data centers is becoming more and more topical, will soon communicate a reliable solution for the self-production of energy that will allow a 100% reduction of these emissions. That’s right, 100%. Energy efficiency will be achieved thanks to new turbine-based trigeneration systems powered by biomethane from Capstone Green Energy. But the benefits do not end there, as these systems will allow the implementation of other essential functions for data centers… Stay tuned on our social channels and website to discover this new solution signed IBT Group and Capstone Green Energy, coming soon!