Leading partners join forces with Equinix to test sustainable data centre innovations

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Equinix has opened opening its first Co-Innovation Facility (CIF), located in its DC15 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre at the Equinix Ashburn Campus in the Washington, D.C. area. A component of Equinix’s Data Centre of the Future initiative, the CIF is a new capability that enables partners to work with Equinix on trialling and developing innovations. These innovations, such as identifying a path to clean hydrogen-enabled fuel cells or deploying more capable battery solutions, will be used to help define the future of sustainable digital infrastructure and services globally.

“The data centre of the future must be sustainable. Equinix is committed to sustainability globally as evidenced by its target to be climate neutral across our business by 2030,” Raouf Abdel, EVP, global operations, Equinix, said. “We are well on our way with over 90 per cent renewable energy coverage worldwide. And thanks to the work we’re doing with partners at the CIF, we’re continuing to make significant advancements in the way we design, build, and operate our global platform, with high energy efficiency standards.”

Sustainable innovations, including liquid cooling, high-density cooling, intelligent power management and on-site prime power generation, will be incubated in the CIF in partnership with leading data centre technology innovators including Bloom Energy, Zutacore, Virtual Power Systems (VPS) and Natron. In collaboration with Equinix, these partners will test core and edge technologies with a focus on proving reliability, efficiency, and cost to build. These include:

Generator-less and UPS-less Data Centres (Bloom Energy) – Utilising on-site solid oxide fuel cells enables the data centre to generate redundant cleaner energy on-grid, and potentially eliminates the need for fossil fuel-powered generators and power-consuming Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems.

“Bloom Energy’s clean, modular fuel cell technology is well-suited to meet the growing demand for clean and resilient power among data centres,” Deia Bayoumi, vice president, product management, Bloom Energy, said. “Building upon our continued collaboration with Equinix, we’re proud to bring our solution to the CIF and move the industry toward a more sustainable future. By generating power on-site with high levels of power availability and needed resiliency, data centres can take control of their sustainable energy needs. Bloom’s technology eliminates reliance on electricity utilities to meet capacity requirements as well as highly pollutive diesel generators to provide backup power.”

High-Density Liquid Cooling (ZutaCore) – Highly efficient, direct-on-chip, waterless, two-phase liquid cooled rack systems, capable of cooling upwards of 100 kW per rack in a light, compact design. Eliminates risk of IT meltdown, minimises use of scarce resources including energy, land, construction, and water, and dramatically shrinks the data centre footprint.

“ZutaCore is honoured to be featured at the CIF and partner with Equinix to advance the proliferation of liquid cooling on a global scale,” Udi Paret, president, ZutaCore, added. “Together we aim to prove that liquid cooling is an essential technology in realising fundamental business objectives for data centres of today and into the future. HyperCool liquid cooling solutions deliver unparalleled performance and sustainability benefits to directly address sustainability imperatives. With little to no infrastructure change, it consistently provides easy to deploy and maintain, environmentally friendly, economically attractive liquid cooling to support the highest core-count, high power and most dense requirements for a range of customer needs from the cloud to the edge.”

Software-Defined Power (VPS) with cabinet-mounted Battery Energy Storage (Natron Energy) – Cabinet power management and battery energy storage system manages power draw and minimises power stranding to near zero percent, leading to a potential 30-50% improvement of power efficiency.

“Data centres of the future are software-defined. Our collaboration with Equinix, Natron Energy and CE+T in the Co-Innovation Facility showcases how VPS software unlocks stranded power, driving up utilisation and enabling cloud-like flexibility on-prem,” Dean Nelson, CEO Virtual Power Systems (VPS), said. “We’re proud to do our part in advancing Equinix’s sustainability goals.”

Colin Wessells, CEO, Natron Energy added that Natron was pleased to be an active part of the Equinix CIF with the deployment of our safe, sustainable, high-efficiency sodium-ion batteries. “Natron’s Prussian blue sodium-ion batteries with >50,000 cycle-life, rapid charge/discharge and immediate availability are enabling new levels of IT system performance along with facility optimisation within data centre and edge deployments as demonstrated by Equinix,” he added.

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