Over the last decade, several companies and universities have investigated the possibilities of using renewable energies to decrease the large amount (around 200 TWh) of brown energy classically used by datacenters. Pioneering companies have managed to fuel their datacenters with renewable energies (Eolas in France, Emerson Network Power, AISO, Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon... more recently), but either the green energy accounts only for a share of the total energy (datacenters consumption of green energy represents about 3 GWh) and the energy production is actually outsourced to a different site (i.e., they inject the same amount of power that they take from the power grid), or they buy Renewable Energy Certificates System (RECS) certificates from an electricity provider producing renewable energy to claim that their datacenter is green. All rely additionally on at least one external electricity provider for power redundancy. Few research initiatives as FP7 GreenDataNet, involving partner EATON, and ANR DATAZERO, involving all partners of DATAZERO2, have paved the way to study how a datacenter mainly operated by renewable energies works.
Since 2015 and till 2019, the ANR DATAZERO project investigates new ways to power and manage one Cloud data center using ONLY on-site renewable energy sources and storage equipment (photovoltaics, wind turbines, hydrogen-energy, batteries, supercaps). However DATAZERO lacks a careful integration of uncertainty in the decision processes, relies on classical power and cooling infrastructures and considers only one datacenter.
As a first objective, DATAZERO2 aims at improving the operation and the design of datacenters ONLY operated with renewable energies, in particular using disruptive approaches for uncertainty management, cooling and power distribution, and considering multiple datacenters. A second objective is to propose a knowledge base and toolbox for industry and researchers for zero-emission datacenters beyond state-of-the-art solutions.
From a scientific point of view, the following challenges will be addressed:
Challenge 1 - Uncertainty mitigation.
Challenge 2 - Reconfigurable power distribution system.
Challenge 3 - Datacenter cooling from hydrogen technologies.
Challenge 4 - Trading energy for computation and vice-versa.
Challenge 5 - Conducting Life Cycle Analysis of renewable energy powered datacenters.
In addition to these research challenges, we will carry on a technical challenge:
Challenge 6 - Producing an open source testbed for understanding renewable energy powered datacenters.
DATAZERO2 builds on the same hypotheses that were the strengths of DATAZERO: not relying on a Power Grid and focus on small to midsize datacenters up to 1 MW.
DATAZERO2 is a multidisciplinary project gathering experts from computer science, electricity, energy and automation: UPS-IRIT (Computer Science), FEMTO-ST with three departments (DISC for Computer Science, AS2M for Automation, and ENERGIE for Energy and Electrical Engineering), INPT-LAPLACE (Electrical Engineering), and EATON SAS, an industrial partner specialised in power provisioning in datacenters and links with computing infrastructures. It builds over valuable expertise from the ANR DATAZERO project, helping to accelerate the understanding the complexity of the problems at hand.
Monsieur Jean-Marc PIERSON (Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
IRIT Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse
EATON SAS EATON INDUSTRIES (FRANCE) SAS
FEMTO-ST INSTITUT FRANCHE-COMTE ELECTRONIQUE MECANIQUE THERMIQUE ET OPTIQUE - SCIENCES ET TECHNOLOGIES
LAPLACE LABORATOIRE PLASMA ET CONVERSION D'ENERGIE
Help of the ANR 875,594 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2020 - 42 Months