nLighten leading the way to sustainable edge data centres

nLighten leading the way to sustainable edge data centres


The data centre industry is experiencing explosive growth, empowering the digital transformation of our society.

This increase in data consumption and energy demand makes sustainability an absolute necessity. As a frontrunner in the European data centre market, nLighten is working towards becoming the industry leader in sustainable edge data centres.

Sector coupling defined by nLighten

nLighten has developed innovations around sector coupling that sets new standards for environmental responsibility. Energy recovery and reuse between producers and users of energy leads to lower aggregate emissions and higher overall efficiency. It is no longer the data centre in isolation in question: the new definition of data centre operations takes the community infrastructure into account and redefines the data centre as a lever to environmental improvement. Sector coupling assists the energy transition. In short: the more energy our data centres use, the more they support this transformation. Sector coupling is the core principle of our approach. 

nLighten is committed to ensuring reliable energy to guarantee the continuous operation of its data centres, while addressing the needs of our surrounding communities at the same time. We are working to integrate data centres into the local community’s energy infrastructure, aligning our operations with energy infrastructure needs. Different industries or housing usually operate in silos, with electricity generation and heat production separate from computing.

nLighten proactively disrupts this paradigm: with sector coupling, we promote the collaboration between our data centres’ energy systems and other sectors, facilitating the reduction of community emissions.

This collaborative interconnection of data centres and utilities enables the exchange of energy in multiple forms, including electricity and heat. A more efficient and sustainable use of energy resources follows. One big advantage of sector coupling lies in its inherent adaptability. It is designed to adapt to the diverse energy landscapes across Europe.

Diversity as a driver for a seamless integration

nLighten is a European company active across multiple countries and regions. It is our mission to make sure that we understand and cater to national, regional, and local differences. This diversity is a driver for us to tailor our sector coupling initiatives to seamlessly integrate with the specific energy mix and infrastructure of each location. 

The nLighten sector coupling includes several components, which can be deployed depending on the needs of the local energy market and infrastructure:

  • Heat recovery means repurposing waste heat from the data centre to warm neighboring buildings. nLighten's latest generation of cooling systems recovers server heat and can raise it to temperatures high enough to be used directly in heating systems. This supports local heating networks with a carbon free heat source. By coupling the data centre with heating networks, we maximise efficiency and assist the energy transition in the communities where we operate.

  • Grid stabilisation: nLighten edge data centres are capable of active grid stabilisation. This means that we inject or withdraw energy from the grid, helping to correct capacity errors. Thus, the data centres no longer place a constant load on the grid, they vary with weather dependent generation and can also provide a capacity contribution. This involves occasionally using batteries, onsite renewable generation, or a combination of both. By deploying such equipment, we ensure resilient operations and onsite generation, while assisting the energy transition of the grid.

  • Onsite generation means that we generate carbon free energy on site, for example through generators that run on biogas and can run on hydrogen in future. The electricity generated on-site is not only used to supply our data centres but can also be used to stabilise the grid.

  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPA): A PPA is an agreement which guarantees a certain amount of energy in a certain period. Our procurement strategy sources energy from local renewable sources, ensuring reliable and sustainable energy sources for customers and contributing to best-in-class emissions for the data centre. We directly purchase 100% carbon free energy generated from the provider.

As we guarantee supply availability while also serving the community, we are helping redefine data centres to assist with environmental improvement. As the need for Data centre capacity increases, sector coupling enables an improved community energy system, further supporting the energy transition. Hence, nLighten is leading the way in sustainable edge data centres and contributing to a more sustainable and interconnected energy future for Europe.

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