Computers

World's largest data center being built in the Arctic

An artist's rendition of the Kolos data center, being built in northern Norway
An artist's rendition of the Kolos data center, being built in northern Norway
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An artist's rendition of the Kolos data center, being built in northern Norway
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An artist's rendition of the Kolos data center, being built in northern Norway

Data centers chew through a huge amount of power, thanks largely to the cooling demands involved. To help fight that on both fronts, the world's largest data center is set to be built in northern Norway, making use of the chilly Arctic climate to keep the servers cool while drawing all of its power from renewable sources.

While we've seen Microsoft attempt to water-cool a data center by placing it at the bottom of the sea, the Arctic circle is essentially a giant fridge, making it prime real estate for large-scale data storage. Kolos, the company behind the facility, has picked out a site near the Norwegian town of Ballangen, a lakeside spot that provides a natural moat that turns the facility into a secure "fortress for data."

Kolos says 100 percent of the data center's power will come from renewable sources, specifically wind and hydroelectricity harvested from the surrounding waterways. These sources will apparently reduce energy costs by 60 percent, even with the facility expected to eventually be churning through a record-breaking 1,000 MW of power, making it the world's largest.

So far, Kolos has partnered with the architecture design firm HDR, which has created renders of the proposed building, acquired the land and raised series A capital. According to the company, the project will create about 2,000 to 3,000 new local jobs.

Source: Kolos

5 comments
Daishi
It would be curious to see what their cooling system design looks like. I think most data centers still use standard air conditioning units even during cold months that just recycle the air inside the building in and out of the system. During cold months in really cold climates they would probably see better efficiency exchanging air to the outside of the building rather than through their AC loop but I haven't seen a system set up to work this way. One downside of the design is while they save power costs in cold months just using fans they would still need to size their cooling system to be able to handle the full cooling demands on warm days. In this use case it would probably make more sense for them to put things like air handlers and radiators on the roof than panels. A roof based solar install wouldn't even dent the power demands for the building but radiators there could be an effective place to displace heat. Water cooling racks of gear in data centers is still kinda hard but the basement of the building could pipe water from the ocean in and out of it for heat exchangers too. I'm sure designing it to displace that much heat will be a fun challenge. Sadly there isn't too much use for the heat generated. If you had a very nearby office you could probably heat it for them for free maybe.
MarcinBuglewicz
i am guessing it is going to produce so much heat they will use it to keep grass/trees green around it :P
windykites
It is a shame they can't use the waste heat to generate electricity. Well they can heat the building, at least.
Aross
Another great idea to alleviate global warming.
AllynMoore
I wish
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