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Digital infrastructure company Equinix tries out hydrogenated vegetable oil for green power

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The data centre industry is under pressure to deliver unprecedented levels of performance while minimising environmental impact. Digital infrastructure company Equinix aims to address these demands with a focus on sustainability-guided innovation, improving efficiency, increasing its use of renewable energy, optimising performance in its supply chain and reducing emissions. Releasing its 2023 Integrated Sustainability Report, the company highlighted some key initiatives that it has undertaken to address such challenges.

To ensure consistent and reliable backup power, the company is trialling the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO). This initiative aims to achieve up to a 90% reduction in carbon emissions for their backup generators. Additionally, the company utilises liquid cooling to deliver high-density workloads like AI with the cooling they need while managing resource usage, including energy and water.

“Liquid cooling requires less energy than traditional air cooling, which helps us save energy while maintaining the performance of innovative technologies like AI for our customers,” says Jason Plamondon, Senior Sustainability Manager, Asia-Pacific, Equinix.

The company collaborates with universities, government agencies and industry bodies to develop sustainable technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells and software-defined power. “Additionally, we set science-based targets to reduce operational emissions by 50% and engage 66% of suppliers to set their own targets by 2030. We also performed a pioneering retrofit project in Singapore, enhancing cooling efficiency with electronically commutated (EC) fans,” he adds.

Plamondon reveals that the aim is achieve 100% renewable energy coverage by 2030 through a comprehensive strategy that includes power purchase agreements, energy attribute certificates and significant investments in energy efficiency. “These agreements are expected to contribute over 3,000,000 megawatt hours (MWhs) of renewable energy annually to local grids across the US, Australia, France, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Singapore, once operational,” he says.In India, the firm has achieved 100% renewable energy coverage, a company spokesperson highlights. Equinix’s 2023 sustainability report also mentions significant achievements in climate action, renewable energy investment and social impact. “We reduced Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions by 24% from our 2019 baseline and increased Scope 3 emissions coverage to 25% through supplier-set science-based targets from 17% to 25%, aiming for 66% by 2025,” he states.

The company’s climate impact reduction strategy includes reducing emissions throughout the value chain and engaging suppliers in emission reduction efforts. “In 2023, our total energy consumption for APAC was 1,719 GWh, with renewable energy consumption at 1,349 GWh. Renewable energy coverage versus our electricity usage in APAC reached 81%,” Plamondon adds.

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