Car Batteries to Help Power Data Centres

The demand for data centre space across Europe is increasing and has resulted in a huge amount of energy being used. At the moment, around 2.5% of all European energy is used by servers in data centres but this is expected to increase to around 7.5% by 2019.

In order to help cope with the ever increasing demand for energy, a research project, Green Data Net, has been started to investigate new ways to help both hardware and software do a better job of getting power from where it is generated to where it is needed at the data centres.

At the moment, the cost of the project is 4.3 million euros. The European Union has invested 2.9 million euros into the project whilst industrial partners have invested the other 1.4 million euros.

One of the main problems at the moment is that most of Europe has focused on utilising renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. This is fine but a problem with this is that the power from these sources isn’t always supplied at exactly the time when it is needed most such as at peak times.

One idea that will be researched is the potential to use old car batteries as a store in which the energy can be supplied to the data centres when needed.

At the moment, the batteries for electric and hybrid cars last around 14 years in which they are then needed to be replaced. However, these batteries could still be used for the purposes of an energy store. If proven to be successful, the idea still largely depends on how popular electric and hybrid cars become across Europe. If they become very popular, Europe would be left with a stockpile of old lithium ion batteries which would be no longer useful for cars but would be more than useful for other functions.

Redmer van der Meer who is Nissan’s director for corporate planning believes that the reuse of old car batteries is a very feasible idea and that it could all be operational by the year 2020.

Van der Meer stated, “Affordable and reliable batteries could have a second life in data centres and in the home, starting around 2020.”

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