Deutsche Telekom in green cloud project with energy-zero tar

Deutsche Telekom in green cloud project with energy-zero target

19 April 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems is looking at ways to save up to 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year at two of its data centres.

The company is working with Fraunhofer IFF, Germany’s Institute for Factory Operation and Automation to reduce the power usage effectiveness (PUE) value and the CO2 footprint of a data centre in Biere and its twin data centre in Magdeburg, close to the Fraunhofer lab.

“Data centres concentrate high energy requirements at a few locations,” said Johannes Krafczyk, responsible for data centre innovations at T Systems. “The impact of CO2 reduction measures and technologies is therefore potentially very high.” The ambitious goal is a “net-zero energy data centre,” he added.

Technology that T-Systems and Fraunhofer IFF are looking at include photovoltaics and wind power, but also better cooling technology, heat recovery and more efficient computers.

“Despite the already very good PUE value, a higher degree of self-sufficiency of up to 50% is theoretically possible,” said T-Systems.

Biere is one of the most modern data centres in Europe, said Deutsche Telekom. Opened in 2014 and expanded in 2018, it already has a very good energy efficiency value of 1.3 PUE. “That is 30% less than conventional data centres. However, with increasing digitisation, the power consumption of data centres will foreseeably rise. That’s why T-Systems is already looking for ways to reduce power consumption and CO2 production.”

The aim, said T-Systems, is that a data centre “no longer draws any energy from the public power grid and is powered solely by CO2-neutral energy”.

“We are currently examining the feasibility and economic viability of specific measures, such as the use of waste heat,” said Dirk Kabelitz, director of the Biere data centre campus. “Likewise, we are investigating self-supply from sustainable energy sources.”

The Magdeburg data centre has a pilot project underway with water-cooled in order to compare energy efficiency with conventional air cooling.

Telekom said it wants to be climate-neutral “by 2040 at the latest”. Since the start of this year, the company has been obtaining its electricity throughout the group exclusively from renewable energies.