Infinity's carbon-neutral data centre
Infinity says it has a true carbon-neutral data centre at it's Infinity ONE site near Martleshan Heath in Suffolk, UK.
The tier 1 centre is powered using biomass, dark green vegetable matter grown by a local farming co-operative, fed into an anaerobic digester produced by Thöni Industriebetriebe GMBH The biomass is digested, or fermented and biogas produced. This is burnt in a co-generation plant to produce power. The leftover digestate is returned to the farmers and claimed to be better for the environment, because it is organic, than chemical fertilisers.
Infinity says the site "can provide up to 22 standalone modular data centre units in a range of specifications each with excellent security and resiliency features."
We're told that Infinity ONE's power supply, destined to reach 8Mwatts, is backed by the National Grid, backed up, in turn by conventional generators with UPS facilities. Despite this Infinity claims is has removed any carbon impact for the entire lifetime of the data centre, a surprising statement.
The suspicion is that there is carbon offsetting going on here and not true carbon-free energy generation. The site does not apparently have a BREEAM certification.
Martin Lynch, Infinity's CEO, said “It is important that potential customers are able to easily differentiate genuine ‘green’ data centre solutions such as Infinity ONE, from those using ‘greenwash’ to confuse the market."
Indeed, but since Infinity ONE has to be prepared to use backup power from the National Grid or conventional generators then we may be being blindsided by dark greenwash.
There need to be independent and agreed standards for carbon-neutrality and data centre greeness. Infinity ONE looks like an advance in terms of green power generation but the methods used may be inadequate for tier 2, 3 and 4 data centres or indeed for very large tier 1 centres.
Infinity has also produced a TIer 4 data centre for Computacenter which is powered conventionally. ®
Correcting a few facts
This comment is firm Martin Lynch, Infinity's CEO:-
Hi Chris I ... saw your article and wanted to correct a few facts. Firstly we offer Tier 3 as standard and can readily deliver Tier 4. High availability is what our business is all about; that's why we were first in Europe to be Tier IV certified. We do not do Tier 1.
The site really is using dark green energy, the grid IS just there for backup. All of our customers demand grid backup in case of plant failures etc. It's just the way it is in terms of people getting confident with self generation. Our current designs are based on a. PUE of 1.2 so this is not just green energy but efficient use of energy as well with the option of borehole cooling instead of chillers if customers wish.
We're also just looking at a 15mw solar plant now that feed in tariffs support the case to support power delivery during daytime hours. We are are looking at a variety of ways to use that most efficiently and trying to package the power cost effectively to encourage the move to green. ... it's real, not a 10,000 cow R&D myth.
Thank you Martin.