Iceland’s Asbru developing cheaper, more sustainable data centres

Verne_Asbru080609_m3Verne Global is in the process of building a new green data centre at the site of the old NATO Base in Iceland. The former military base has since been renamed the Asbru Community of Education and Entrepreneurs. The American Air Force quit the Reykjanes base late in 2006, and it has since been regenerated into a student campus and technology park.

As well as Verne Global, Asbru is getting attention from all sorts of other companies wanting to invest in sustainability and green innovation using clean energy from Icelandic hydroelectric and geothermal energy sources. A clean energy research lab (Keilir) and a clean energy business incubator (Eldey) are all a part of the area’s strategy of creating a clean technology business park.

The Chief Technology Officer at Verne Global, Tate Cantrell, says that the data centre industry has a real need for a clean energy solution that drives down overall cost. Iceland, he believes, offers such a solution.

Tate Cantrell recently wrote an article on the subject for where he states: “With energy costs fluctuating and going up more than down, and data centers consuming a tremendous amount of energy there is a real need in the market for a green innovation solution that reduces energy and drives down overall cost. Data centers have historically required large, expensive chilling systems to keep all of the equipment at a regulated temperature. Now more than ever, companies are scrambling to find ways to reduce dependencies on the status quo and become more energy efficient all around.

He went on to say that Iceland is an ideal place for cost free cooling every single day. “The mean annual temperature is -0.5°C (30°F) in January and 10°C (50°F) in July. Iceland is very much its own cooling system, standing by to draw the heat right out the computer servers.

“Using power generated by Iceland’s very accessible pockets of underground steam, we are able to utilize an extremely inexpensive source of electricity. As some data centers struggle to accommodate power densities as low as four to five kilowatts per rack – with high cooling costs – ours can handle 15-20 kW, thanks to good old Mother Nature. With a continuous supply of naturally chilled water, Iceland can also accommodate next generation water cooling for higher density data center racks simply and inexpensively making it perfectly suited for a direct water-cooled environment.”

Tate Cantrell’s main role at Verne Global revolves around product design and development and data centre operations. Mr. Cantrell has been involved in data centres and other high tech facilities for more than 15 years, starting as a research programmer for computational modelling on biomedical applications.

Further details on Asbru knowledge and entrepreneurial community on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, take a look at