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Alibaba to release nine energy efficiency patents

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Alibaba Group has joined the Low Carbon Patent Pledge (LCPP), an international platform that encourages the sharing of patents for low carbon technologies.

Alibaba will make nine energy efficiency patents available for free for the first time and the news breaks a year after the LCPP was launched by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, and Meta on Earth Day 2021.

The nine patents offered are part of Alibaba’s green data centre technologies, including the unique "soaking server" cooling system that Alibaba Cloud has deployed for its data centres since 2015. This non-mechanical cooling measure leads to energy savings of over 70% compared to traditional mechanical cooling.

It's the first time that Alibaba Group has pledged to offer critical intellectual property on sustainability broadly available.

“We believe technology innovation is a key driver in transitioning to the low-carbon circular economy of the future. As a pioneer and global technology leader, we are committed to taking broader social responsibility to use technology to level the playing field and to empower wider social groups, creating long-term value. We are excited to join the pledge as a way to encourage a collective approach to building a sustainable and inclusive future for society and the environment through open collaboration, joint innovations and mutual inspiration,” said Dr. Chen Long, Vice President of Alibaba Group and Chair of Alibaba’s Sustainability Steering Committee.

Own goals

On the back of this news, Alibaba Cloud, which also offers telco cloud services, publicly committed to a 2030 deadline for its own global data centres to achieve their zero carbon goals.

It will do this by "employing cutting-edge green technologies in these facilities".

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in early April, stated that global emissions need to half before 2030 in order to limit the worst of the damage that the global climate crisis is expected to cause.

It stated: "Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach."

Shanyuan Gao, GM of Alibaba Cloud Infrastructure’s internet data centre division, said: “Eco-friendly data centres are critical to Alibaba’s sustainable operations. We employ cutting-edge green technologies in its hyper-scale facilities, of which liquid cooling and renewable electricity storage make a considerable difference in reducing carbon emissions. For instance, in our Hangzhou data centre, server clusters are submerged in specialised liquid coolant, which quickly chills the IT hardware.”