Robbert Hoeffnagel discusses the innovative European programme carrying out invaluable research into circular models for data centres
Currently, only 10 percent of the so-called ‘critical raw materials’ used in data centres are recovered. If we want to further reduce the impact of data centres on the environment and our living environment, the percentage of devices and materials that are re-used or recycled will have to be drastically increased.
That is why a group of companies, universities and other parties – including Green IT Amsterdam – are starting a research programme under the name CEDaCI into circular models for data centres.
Organisations from the four main data centre countries in Europe – the Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom – are participating in the project. “North-West Europe – and in particular the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands – is the EU’s data centre hotspot,” says Julie Chenadec, project manager at Green IT Amsterdam.
“Servers and other hardware in data centres often have a replacement period of one to five years. Although accurate data is not published, the data centre industry makes a significant contribution to the global total of 11.8 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
“This makes WEEE one of the fastest growing waste streams in the European Union. WEEE contains critical raw materials of high economic importance and vulnerable to supply disruption. In addition, production is energy-intensive and thus contributes to the environmental impact of the sector.”