Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, August 17, 2022

UK Government Assists Datacenter CO2 Reduction 

A consortium led by Cambridge-based startup Alquist has been awarded almost £1 million in UK government funding to help datacenters reduce their carbon footprint. 

Global atmospheric carbon emissions are still increasing, but so too is awareness of green technology. The UK government, which has long championed the reduction of carbon in businesses and other industries, is now putting its focus on greener datacenters.

A consortium led by Cambridge-based startup Alquist has been awarded almost £1 million in UK government funding to help datacenters reduce their carbon footprint. The group, which includes Verizon and Schneider Electric, will deploy Alquist's Celsius temperature monitoring system in two London test sites.

Celsius uses advanced laser technology and fiber optics to create high definition temperature maps of server racks and power transmission equipment in datacenters. This information, delivered in real-time, will help datacenter staff optimize the performance of their air conditioning and airflow settings.

Andrew Jones, Alquist founder, said "Datacenter managers have very limited visibility of temperature fluctuation across their data halls. Celsius offers thousands of real-time sensing points. This new visibility enables managers to cool equipment far more efficiently, and make significant energy savings."

By 2020, six percent of UK electricity is forecast to be consumed by datacenters. With the integration of the Celsius system, mid-sized datacenters can expect to see a 10-30 percent reduction in electricity bills, and a carbon savings of 2,000 tons a year.

Natalie Hooper, Verizon's technical facilities lead in Europe, remarked, "Operating cooling systems efficiently whilst avoiding hotspots is one of the key challenges faced by datacenter operators. Celsius provides a simple, cost-effective way of gathering necessary temperature information in order to proactively manage equipment more effectively."

The Alquist-led consortium was chosen over other groups due to the vendor's success in the "Invest in Innovative Refurbishment" Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) program. DECC elected to fund the consortium, along with four other groups, out of a total of 50 applications.

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