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Greenest data centres globally implement water-cooled processes

Nautilus Data Technologies (NDT) is a global pioneer in data centre technology, leading a fundamental shift in the data centre industry. Nautilus’ patented design water cooling technology is at the core of its design, delivering a waterborne data centre that operates more efficiently and less expensively than traditional land-based facilities while achieving higher environmental standards.

They are now building their first land-based data centre at the former Great Northern Paper Mill in Millinocket, Maine, US, where its 13-acre property has access to 60 megawatts of renewable hydroelectricity from a nearby power plant. The 1400-acre mill complex was once the largest producer of newsprint in the United States. In repurposing the site for a data centre, Nautilus hopes to showcase its vision of converting brownfield sites in hard-hit small towns into centres of digital business.

NDT taps rivers, lakes and oceans to slash the cost of cooling servers. Its Maine facility will take advantage of the topography of the Millinocket site, situated between two bodies of water, enabling a gravity-fed design for both supply and discharge water, reducing the need to use energy for pumps. NDT says the facility “will be the greenest data centre globally”.

“Nautilus is leading the way to a new level of technical and environmental performance in our increasingly data-dependent world,” explains James Connaughton, CEO of Nautilus. “Our advances in digital infrastructure will help deliver outcomes that enhance people’s lives by accelerating social welfare, improving the environmental, and closing the digital divide”.

Nautilus will be the first tenant on the site of the former mill since it closed in 2008. It plans to build a modular facility with the ability to expand in phases and operate at exceptional levels of energy efficiency. Nautilus and site owner Our Katahdin executed a 99-year lease that allows engineering, permitting, site development, and project financing to immediately begin.

“Nautilus’ new facility will establish Maine as an international leader in environmentally sustainable data storage technology and lay the foundation for future economic growth,” said US Senator Susan Collins, “By breathing new life into the site of the former Great Northern Paper mill, this substantial investment will help catalyse the creation of much-needed jobs in the region, attract other innovative companies, and strengthen the community”.

The primary question facing the Nautilus project is its location. Millinocket is a town of 4500 residents in Central Maine that’s about a three-hour drive north of Portland. It is surrounded by forest, which was ideal for paper mills but far from the business districts that typically support data centre demand. The Nautilus data centre will connect to Maine’s “Three Ring Binder,” a broadband network created by the state to serve rural communities.

NDT has several committed customers for the Millinocket centre, including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and The Jackson Laboratory, a biomedical research centre in Bar Harbour. Nautilus hopes to attract government customers and enterprise HPC users who can take advantage of Nautilus’ high-density cooling.

The major challenges facing the data centre industry today are finite water and power resources. This is especially true for large scale operations and particularly the ongoing trend toward hyperscale facilities.

Nautilus has also had expressions of interest from cryptocurrency miners, who run high-density operations and are comfortable operating in rural areas.

With a first phase of 5 to 10 megawatts scheduled to come online in late 2022, Nautilus will quickly become the largest provider in the state. Maine currently has just fewer than five commercial data centres, primarily from local telecom companies.

This is a shortened version, the full article can be found at source: Data Centre Frontier.