Vantage Data Centres expands HVO adoption for sustainable power generation

Vantage Data Centres, a leading global provider of hyperscale data centre campuses, has announced its ongoing deployment of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a renewable fuel replacing conventional diesel in generators. This sustainable transition to HVO will be extended to several of its largest markets in North America and EMEA.

Leveraging HVO offers an actionable opportunity for Vantage and other data centre operators to take a positive step toward reducing carbon emissions.

Commencing as a pilot programme at Vantage’s Cardiff, Wales campus in 2022, the substitution of diesel fuel with HVO marked a significant step towards achieving the company’s carbon objectives, all accomplished without necessitating new infrastructure or updates. Building upon the success of the pilot initiative, Vantage has formally integrated HVO into its latest facility, CWL13, situated on the Cardiff campus. Concurrently, the company is actively extending the adoption of this renewable fuel to encompass the entirety of the campus. Furthermore, Vantage is set to introduce HVO in one of its key North American markets, Santa Clara, California, before the year’s end. Plans are underway for further deployments in additional markets, contingent upon the availability of the renewable fuel.

“Making the switch to renewable diesel is one of the many ways we are reducing the carbon emissions of our operations. Reaching net zero by 2030 is an incredibly ambitious goal that will require us to implement a wide variety of solutions. Our focus is on maintaining reliability and affordability while achieving emissions reductions,” said Amanda Abell, senior director of sustainability at Vantage. “We look forward to continuing the rollout of HVO at our campuses across North America and EMEA, where available, in addition to the other programmes we have in place to reach our sustainability targets.”

The broad launch of hydrotreated vegetable oil comes as the company progresses toward its sustainability goals. The use of renewable diesel fuels significantly reduces the embodied carbon of the fuel consumed in diesel generators, which helps to reduce Scope 3 emissions associated with the company’s supply chain. According to fuel suppliers, the use of HVO reduces the lifecycle carbon emissions by 65-90% compared to conventional diesel.

In 2022, Vantage partnered with the Data Centre Coalition (DCC) and its members to lead a technical working group focused on driving market support for HVO as availability and costs vary by geography. Based in the Northern Virginia area, where HVO prices are approximately 95 percent higher than diesel fuel, DCC seeks to influence the supply chain and stakeholders to unlock increased availability.

“Vantage is working with industry through the Data Centre Coalition to accelerate the viability and use of renewable diesel fuels,” said Mark Freeman, vice president, global marketing and public policy at Vantage and Data Centre Coalition board member. “By collaborating and sharing information with peers, it helps the entire sector move faster. It is our hope that through partnerships we can convince policy makers, stakeholders and supply chains of the HVO benefits and enlist their help in achieving the widespread production and distribution of the renewable fuel in markets that lack reliable, cost-effective and timely access today.”

“There is strong industry interest in transitioning from diesel as quickly as is practical. While there are no ‘silver bullet’ technological solutions available today to replace backup diesel generators at scale, data centres are actively seeking and evaluating alternatives that can provide environmental sustainability benefits and similar reliability, fuel availability, siting flexibility and workplace safety protections,” explained Josh Levi, president of the Data Centre Coalition. “We are seeing widespread interest in leveraging hydrotreated vegetable oil as an alternative to conventional diesel. In fact, a recent member survey found that 92 percent of respondents are interested in piloting renewable diesel in the Northern Virginia market within the next one to two years. We’re pleased to see support for this sustainable fuel and will continue to work closely with member companies as we advocate to speed the viability and availability of alternative, reliable sources for backup energy.”

In addition to Vantage’s continued rollout of HVO, the company is also implementing generator run-time reduction measures to eliminate the creation of emissions from the start. By using an optimised staged implementation of testing and maintenance procedures, Vantage anticipates achieving a 25 to 75 percent reduction in fuel consumption and associated emissions.

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