Breaking the Gridlock at Datacloud USA

Breaking the Gridlock at Datacloud USA

Datacloud USA.jpg

Hydrogen and nuclear-powered data centres are a distinct possibility for the future.

That was the view of Bruce Myatt, global director for data centres and critical facilities at Black & Veatch who offered his expertise at a panel at Datacloud USA in Austin, Texas.

The panel, titled ‘Breaking the Gridlock: How do we address power constraints in data center design and operations?’ was moderated by Susanna Kass, energy fellow at Stanford University InfraPrime.

She was joined by John Sasser CTO at Sabey Data Centers, Alexander Goodall, CEO at Clean Energy Capital, Undra Patrick, east lead mission-critical delivery at Enercon Services and Danielle Ramaley, senior director at Bloom Energy.

The panel aimed to tackle the pressing issue of power constraints that hinder the growth and operations of data centres across North America.

As power availability becomes more constrained, the cost of power rises, posing significant challenges for data centre operators.

The demand for power in the US market is expected to skyrocket, with consumption projected to reach 35 gigawatts by 2030, almost doubling from the 17 gigawatts recorded in 2022.

Both hydrogen and nuclear energy have been touted as alternatives by senior execs in the data centre industry, and Myatt believes it is only a matter of time before hydrogen-powered data centres come to fruition.

“We’re helping some of our clients look into the future to see which investments are worthwhile and I’m excited about that,” he added.

Nuclear power produces little or no greenhouse gas emissions and has the potential to deliver energy wherever it is needed.

Compared to renewable sources such as solar and wind energy, nuclear power can deliver a steady dependable base load which doesn’t rely on sunlight or wind.

Undra added that at Enercon, they are one of two companies in the entire US that can cite and license nuclear power facilities.

He adds that nuclear-powered facilities will not happen within the next four to five years but rather it may happen in the next 12 to 13 years.

But this will only happen if operators can come together to support the idea that this particular power solution is safe.

The panel agreed that power will only continue to become a more pressing issue moving forward, accentuated by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and other mature forms of technology.

“We need to look for long-term, sustainable solutions and that’s what the big users of energy are after,” Goodall said.

“When you look at the grid, it is often quite archaic infrastructure really struggling to deliver that, so private wind renewable solutions are one of the only ways to actually deliver that at scale.”

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