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Germans stick data centres in windmills

by on07 December 2023

Makes them carbon neutral  

A new German-based project called WindCORES operates data centres inside existing wind turbines, making them almost completely carbon neutral.

WindCORES managing director Fiete Dubberke said the concept uses existing wind turbines to power data centres on-site, while fibre optic cables provide a constant internet connection.

Planning for a project like this began ten years ago, Dubberke said, when WestfalenWIND realised the electricity grid was too weak to handle the huge capacities of electricity being produced by its wind turbines during peak wind hours, resulting in their windfarms being switched off due to grid security issues.

WindCORES estimates that the unused electricity generated during this period could power one-third of all German data centres.

The idea is it bypass the "middleman" (the grid) and instead power IT servers from directly inside the large concrete wind turbine towers. Each tower is 13 meters wide and could potentially hold up to 150 meters high server racks. As the area is mostly space, Dubberke calls the concept a "no-brainer."

According to Dubberke, 85-92 per cent of the power needed to sustain a WindCORES data centre comes directly from the host turbine. Without wind, electricity is obtained via the electricity grid from other renewable sources, including solar farms and hydroelectric power plants.

"The German data centre average is 430 grams of CO2 released per kilowatt hour. For windCORES, it is calculated at just 10 grams per kilowatt hour," he said.

More than 218 channels are encoded with windCORES, and by the end of next year, the company hopes to relocate more existing servers to the wind farm, making it Zattoo's main data center location. [...] WindCORES has recently opened a larger, second location called "windCORES II" at the Huser Klee windfarm in Lichtenau, Germany. Built for a new large automotive client from Munich (the name is yet to be revealed), it is over three levels and around 20 meters high.


Last modified on 07 December 2023
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