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Green Data Centers: Google, Microsoft, Danfoss, Schneider Electric Launch Net Zero Innovation Hub

September 28, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Danfoss, Google, Microsoft and Schneider Electric have launched the Net Zero Innovation Hub For Data Centers. The hub, based in Fredericia, Denmark, will "bring together the data center sector across Europe to find concrete solutions to accelerate the green transition," the founders said.

Henrik Hansen, CEO, Danish Data Center Industry

The consortium will also attract "key stakeholders in the European data center sector - including regulators, researchers, operators, utility providers, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), and grid/network services," the founders said. The Danish Data Center Industry will act as a secretariat for the initiative.

Amazon Web Services was noticeably absent from the Net Zero Innovation Hub for Data Centers launch announcement. Moreover, the teaser announcement did not describe how interested parties can potentially join the hub -- thought that information is expected to be forthcoming. An official press conference is scheduled for later today.


Net Zero Innovation Hub for Data Centers: Key Green IT Goals

Jürgen Fischer, president, Danfoss Climate Solutions

Among the hub's initial goals, according to the founders:

  • Function as a meeting place where key players can enter into collaborations and develop new innovative solutions that can be quickly implemented for the benefit of the green transition.
  • Serve as an opportunity to share best practices and guidance from leading researchers.
  • Focus on developing solutions that lower or equalize the data centers' carbon emissions and contribute to the stabilization of the electricity grid.
  • For cutting emissions (Scope 1) the bub will look at projects for diesel generation alternatives and substitute fuels, and heat reuse.
  • For indirect emissions (Scope 2), the hub will aim to better utilize carbon-free energy sources such as wind and solar for power generation.
  • For embodied emissions (Scope 3), the hub will partner with suppliers and academia to research how to decarbonize raw materials like concrete, steel, and aluminum, allowing for data centers to be built more sustainably in the future.

Green Data Center Market Forecast: Demand for green data centers -- particularly in Europe -- is surging. Among the proof points: Annual revenue in the European green data center market is expected to reach $12.25 billion in 2028 -- up from $7.94 billion in 2022. That's a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%, according to Research and Markets. Meanwhile, the U.S. data center market appears to be struggling with green IT transitions, according to Hitachi Vantara research.

Green Data Center Hub: Executive Perspectives

JP Clausen, VP of advanced technology innovation, Google

Multiple executives issued prepared statements about the Net Zero Innovation Hub For Data Centers. Here's the sampling...

The Danish Data Center Industry CEO Henrik Hansen said: “This initiative reflects the level of commitment and responsibility the data center industry is willing to take to solve the challenges ahead. The roadmap to zero-carbon data centers requires solutions beyond the industry’s capabilities to solve independently. The open-sourced approach with stakeholders, both within and outside of the industry, will significantly accelerate the industry towards net zero, aligning with EU’s ambitions for data centers by 2030."

Added Jürgen Fischer, president of Danfoss Climate Solutions: “We want to revolutionize how we build data centers! Danfoss is already working with our customers to build decarbonized data centers, but we need to speed things up and do it in partnerships across borders and industries. That’s why Danfoss is proud to launch the Net Zero Innovation Hub For Data Centers, a neutral meeting place where key players can enter into collaboration to build better and more sustainable data centers.”

Sean James, senior director, data center research, Microsoft

Noted JP Clausen, VP of engineering and data center innovation at Google: "The rapid pace of digitization, enabled by the data center industry, has many benefits to people and businesses - from rapid access to information, to increased connectivity. That development, however, also requires that the data industry as a whole sets the bar for sustainability as high as possible - and builds a bridge to the rest of society. Denmark is a green corridor to Europe and the rest of the world. That is why I am both happy and proud that we have succeeded in bringing the Innovation Hub to Fredericia."

Stated Microsoft Senior Director of Datacenter Research Sean James: "Microsoft is excited to join this initiative with Danfoss, Google, and Schneider Electric. Our commitment is clear: as we meet customer demand and expand data center capacity, it must be done without increasing our climate footprint. We believe partnerships like this are essential to drive energy efficiency innovation and secure renewable energy sources. Leveraging our joint expertise in cloud computing, sustainable energy and cooling solutions, we aim to transform data center design and operations for a greener future.”

Mic Seremet, product owner, Schneider Electric Kolding

Concluded Mic Seremet, product owner, Schneider Electric Kolding: “Our grid is under pressure as we're shifting from a few centralized fossil fueled power plants to a decentralized energy landscape with a large number of renewable sources. This means we must rethink our energy landscape. We are looking very much forward to contributing to this transformation as part of the Hub, with concrete solutions, such as a technology platform that turns data centers into active decarbonization players, provides flexibility to deploy innovative energy resource technologies while accelerating data center construction to help facilitate this transformation. The NZIH aligns perfectly with our commitment to being an Impact Company, joining our forces to drive the sustainability agenda."

Green IT and Data Centers: Next Steps for Net Zero Hub?

Timelines and next-steps we not described in the launch announcement. We'll be watching for updates from the group.

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