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Data4 and University of Paris-Saclay partner for world’s first bio circular data centre

Written by Mon 18 Mar 2024

French data centre operator, Data4, and the University of Paris-Saclay have announced a partnership to launch the world’s first bio-circular data centre. 

Launched at the beginning of 2024, the ‘first-of-its-kind’ bio-circular data centre project will be spearheaded by the Conseil Départemental de l’Essonne and run by a multi-disciplinary team. 

Data4 said as digital technology advances rapidly and the volume of data stored in data centres increases by 35% annually worldwide, companies in the sector must step up their environmental efforts to meet this challenge.

The new project is a ‘response to the strategic challenge of reusing the heat produced by data centres’. To prevent this heat from being lost several reuse options are being studied, including the option of heating nearby homes. However, Data4 said this solution only exploits 20% of the heat produced.

To address this challenge, Data4 is exploring innovative methods for utilising excess heat generated by data centres. This includes replicating natural photosynthesis by using captured CO2 to cultivate algae, repurposing it as biomass for circular energy sources, and integrating it into the production of bioproducts for industries like cosmetics and agri-food.

“Thanks to this partnership with the Fondation Université Paris Saclay, we have the opportunity to draw on one of the most prestigious scientific communities in the world, with a common objective of a circular energy economy,” said Linda Lescuyer, Innovation Manager at Data4.

Lescuyer added the augmented biomass project meets two of the major challenges of the time: food security and energy transition. Lescuyer stressed the need for collaboration among stakeholders in the Essonne region to create a robust industrial ecology project focused on resource sharing and consumption reduction.

“Thanks to a feasibility study we have been able to calculate the efficiency of this carbon capture, which can be 20 times greater than that of a tree for an equivalent surface area,” said Patrick Duvaut, Vice President at the Université Paris-Saclay and President of the Fondation Paris-Saclay.

The data centre heat reuse project intends to unite experts from Centrale-Supélec, AgroParisTech, INRAE, the ICMMO Laboratory at the University of Paris-Saclay, the Blue Planet Ecosystems start-up and the Data4 teams at the group’s Marcoussis site in the Essonne region. 

The project aims to positively impact the Essonne region and extend to other areas due to strong links with the Communauté d’Agglomération Paris Saclay.

In October, Data4 announced a debt raise of £1.9 billion ($2.32 billion) through financing, with the option to extend the total to £2.7 billion ($3.37 billion). The Brookfield-owned company said the funds will help consolidate its position within the data centre market.

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Written by Mon 18 Mar 2024

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