Iceland Home to World’s First Zero-Emissions Data Center

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UK telecoms and IT services provider Colt is well on its way toward building the world’s first zero-emissions data center, in all of four months. Being built for data center developer Verne Global, the plant will be built on a former NATO base in Keflavik, Iceland, where geothermal and hydroelectric power will supply all the electricity needed to power the 500-square meter data center’s servers and ambient cold air used to cool them.

Colt has manufactured the data center’s 37 modules in the UK and will begin shipping them to Verne Global’s data center campus in Keflavik in early October, according to a press release.

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Sitting atop part of the Atlantic Ocean’s Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is the only country in the world that generates all its electrical power from clean, renewable sources — geothermal and hydropower. Its geographic location affords the country with access to plentiful geothermal and hydropower resources, as well as a cold climate that make it an ideal location for data centers. Its remote location is a downside, but undersea cables provide telecoms links between the island nation and the European and North American continents.

The Verne Global data center project is indicative of the drive on the part of the global IT and data center industry to reduce the intensity of its electricity use and minimize the environmental impact of its operations.

“This is a very interesting project and shows how the industry is transforming,” commented Chris Ingle, an associate vice president at IDC. “Verne Global’s Iceland location and dual source renewable energy provides a combination of sustainability and cost visibility. Colt’s approach to data center build provides a fast and flexible way of fitting out the space. The ability to provide a traditional data center more efficiently than is currently the case provides a strong alternative in the market.”

Added Verne Global CEO Jeff Monroe, ““Partnering with Colt enables us to have a purpose-built facility that will be in operation before the end of 2011, supporting our mission of delivering the world’s first dual-sourced renewably powered data center. We see a strong demand in the co-location market and we required a partner who could provide highly resilient, flexible data center space, configured to our specific technical requirements.”

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Colt’s modular manufacturing approach to data center construction afforded Verne Global the ability to streamline the manufacturing process and assure its quality, as well as offering the potential to quickly scale-up and increase the data center’s capacity.

Through its data center division, Colt owns and operates 19 data centers across Europe and manages more than 21,000-square meters of data center space. The company also operates a 35,000-kilometer (~22,000-mile) that stretches through 39 major European cities with direct fiber connections to 18,000 buildings and 19 Colt data centers.

Verne Global’s data center campus in Keflavik, Iceland offers co-location and bespoke data center options to customers whose electrical power needs range from multiple kilowatts to multiple megawatts. Geothermal and hydroelectric power provide clean, renewable power for all its operations, enabling customers to lower the environmental impact and carbon footprint of their operations. Multiple high-speed cables provide connections to Europe and the US.


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