Vantage Data Centres to deploy HVO fuel in more data centres
Wed 20 Sep 2023
Vantage Data Centers has announced the continued deployment of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a renewable fuel to replace conventional diesel fuel in generators. The company will roll out HVO to its data centres in North America and EMEA.
Vantage reported that HVO offers a more sustainable fuel option while delivering the same level of functionality as traditional diesel, as it is 100% biodegradable and non-toxic.
Repurposing waste oils like vegetable oil to create sustainable fuels is said to significantly reduce the embodied carbon due to the cleaner sourcing and creation process. Leveraging HVO offers an actionable opportunity for Vantage and other data centre operators to take a positive step toward reducing carbon emissions.
“Making the switch to renewable diesel is one of the many ways we are reducing the carbon emissions of our operations. Reaching net zero by 2030 is an incredibly ambitious goal that will require us to implement a wide variety of solutions. Our focus is on maintaining reliability and affordability while achieving emissions reductions,” said Amanda Abell, Senior Director of Sustainability at Vantage.
Vantage Rolls Out HVO to More Data Centres
Initially deployed as a pilot at Vantage’s campus in Cardiff, Wales in 2022, the company’s deployment of HVO as an alternative to diesel fuel yielded progress toward its carbon goals without the need for new or updated infrastructure.
Given the success of the pilot, Vantage officially implemented HVO at its newest facility, CWL13, on the Cardiff campus, and is currently working to deploy the renewable fuel throughout the rest of the campus.
Vantage will also deploy HVO in one of its North American flagship markets, Santa Clara, California, by the end of the year. Vantage is planning deployments in additional markets subject to fuel availability.
“We look forward to continuing the rollout of HVO at our campuses across North America and EMEA, where available, in addition to the other programs we have in place to reach our sustainability targets,” added Abell.
The broad launch of hydrotreated vegetable oil comes as the company progresses toward its sustainability goals. The use of renewable diesel fuel significantly reduces the embodied carbon of the fuel consumed in diesel generators, which helps to reduce Scope 3 emissions associated with the company’s supply chain.
According to fuel suppliers, the use of HVO reduces the lifecycle carbon emissions by 65-90% compared to conventional diesel.
A Growing Appetite for HVO
In 2022, Vantage partnered with the Data Center Coalition (DCC) and its members to lead a technical working group focused on driving market support for HVO as availability and costs vary by geography.
“Vantage is working with industry through the Data Center Coalition to accelerate the viability and use of renewable diesel fuels,” said Mark Freeman, Vice President of Global Marketing and Public Policy at Vantage and Data Center Coalition Board Member.
Based in the Northern Virginia area, where HVO prices are approximately 95% higher than diesel fuel, DCC seeks to influence the supply chain and stakeholders to unlock increased availability.
“By collaborating and sharing information with peers, it helps the entire sector move faster. It is our hope that through partnerships we can convince policy makers, stakeholders and supply chains of the HVO benefits and enlist their help in achieving the widespread production and distribution of the renewable fuel in markets that lack reliable, cost-effective and timely access today,” added Freeman.
The DCC is seeing widespread interest in leveraging hydrotreated vegetable oil as an alternative to conventional diesel. A recent member survey found that 92% of respondents are interested in piloting renewable diesel in the Northern Virginia market within the next one to two years.
The DCC said it will continue to work closely with member companies as it advocates to speed the viability and availability of alternative, reliable sources for backup energy.
“There is strong industry interest in transitioning from diesel as quickly as is practical. While there are no ‘silver bullet’ technological solutions available today to replace backup diesel generators at scale, data centres are actively seeking and evaluating alternatives that can provide environmental sustainability benefits and similar reliability, fuel availability, siting flexibility and workplace safety protections,” said Josh Levi, President of the Data Center Coalition.
In addition to Vantage’s continued rollout of HVO in its data centres, the company is also implementing generator run-time reduction measures to eliminate the creation of emissions from the start.
By using an optimised staged implementation of testing and maintenance procedures, Vantage anticipates achieving a 25 to 75% reduction in fuel consumption and associated emissions.
Vantage is also installing active emissions control systems known as Selective Catalytic Reductions (SCRs) on generators in select markets. SCRs reduce nitrogen oxide emitted from the company’s diesel generators by up to 90%. SCRs are already installed at many facilities across Vantage’s Warsaw, Berlin, Frankfurt and California campuses with additional installations planned for the future.
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