With the world’s appetite for data growing faster than ever thanks to the pandemic, the carbon footprint of the planet’s data centres is steadily increasing. With as much as 40% of an average data centre’s energy consumption attributable to cooling, there is a clear need for more efficient heat transfer technology when aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Access to data has become more crucial than ever, leading some to label a broadband connection as the fourth utility. While our growing dependence on the internet is hardly new, the effects of COVID-19 and homeworking have inarguably amplified it.
This presents a very real physical consequence. Even before the pandemic, research from Digital Infrastructure indicated that the world’s data centre emissions were equivalent to those of global air travel in 2019.
Many might be shocked to learn that as much as 40% of the average data centre’s energy usage can be attributed solely to cooling. However, this is largely due to a reliance on antiquated mechanical cooling techniques, so there is clear scope for a move towards more sustainable practice.
When considering the number of free cooling and heat recovery solutions available, it is not technology that is outdated but our approach to cooling techniques. Modern heat exchanger technology allows the application of a virtually limitless number of innovative cooling solutions, so it is critical that this potential is explored fully if IT infrastructure is to develop in a sustainable manner.
For those who want to learn more, Alfa Laval has a dedicated knowledge hub on its website for industry professionals and enthusiasts alike.