Clouds across Europe powered by wood, water and nuclear fission

datacentre cloudTwo differing approaches to powering the cloud with renewable energy have been unveiled this week.

In northern Russia a new datacentre facility in Udomlya is to power the 10,000 racks that support the cloud using nuclear fission, in order to generate the 80 MW needed to power the facility. Meanwhile, Luxembourg-based colocation provider LuxConnect is to power its new Tier IV data centre in Bettembourg with a wood burner.

The two data centres illustrate the differing approaches to powering the cloud. According to LuxConnect business development manager Claude Demuth it is becoming increasingly important for service providers, that use datacentre facilities to host their cloud services, to demonstrate that their electricity is powered by a sustainable source.

Until recently, LuxConnect met this commitment by purchasing credits for power generated from water driven turbines in Norway.  While the power used in their datacentre is not the very same power fed into the grid in Norway, the credits can be exchanged for a local source of power and LuxConnect was still credited as a user of sustainable power. However the Luxembourg government suggested that the new facility should use local renewable energy from biomass.

In response LuxConnect has built its own plant to burn waste wood from pallets, timbers and old furniture. The released energy is converted into electricity which will run the new data centre’s power and cooling. The bio mass burning plant has been built across the road from the data centre and connects via underground pipes.

Meanwhile in Russia, according to news agency Telecom Daily, nuclear power operator

Rosenergoatom, which runs ten nuclear power plants with 33 reactors, is to supply the Udomlya. According to reports it has offered Facebook and Google space on the upcoming campus, in order to help the American companies comply with new data residency laws.