Atos and HDF Energy to build ‘green hydrogen-powered’ datacentre by 2023

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IT services giant Atos has set its sights on putting a green hydrogen-powered datacentre into production for the first time by 2023, with the help of French firm HDF Energy.

The pair will jointly develop a setup that will enable datacentres to be powered long-term with “green hydrogen”, which is typically the name given to hydrogen that is produced through renewably powered water electrolysis.  

Atos will design and provide the software, hardware and integration services needed to ensure the datacentre can be powered by green hydrogen.

Part of this work will include the creation of a software layer that will make use of artificial intelligence tools to predict the server farm’s power consumption requirements to manage the supply of green hydrogen being fed into it.

“This complex process is not only based on the datacentre’s activity and size, but also takes into account external data from the environment, such as weather forecasting,” said Atos.

HDF Energy’s contribution to the project centres on the work it has done already to create green hydrogen power plants that can deliver a predictable, stable and consistent supply of energy to the datacentre for resiliency purposes.

“This new solution from Atos and HDF will enable datacentre operators and cloud operators to anticipate potential future constraints set by regulation authorities and offer a sustainable but reliable solution to their customers, with no compromise on their business,” the companies said in a joint statement.

News of the initiative comes at a time of high scrutiny as far as the energy consumption habits of datacentre operators are concerned, which has prompted many of the major colocation providers to announce carbon emission reduction initiatives over the past 18 months, as well as renewable power investments.

Atos is among the companies to have set out plans to bolster the sustainability of its own datacentre estate, with the company claiming 55% of its datacentres are now powered by renewable power sources, and that the amount of power they consume fell by 15% year on year between 2019 and 2020.

“We are constantly seeking to develop solutions to leverage our own sustainable journey towards decarbonisation and to support our clients in theirs,” said Arnaud Bertrand, senior vice-president and head of strategy and innovation for big data and security at Atos.

“In this perspective, the solution to be developed by Atos and HDF will be the first available on the market that will enable a full production datacentre with very demanding workloads to be operated using green hydrogen. This meets the expectations not only of operators, but also of the market and public authorities.”

HDF CEO Damien Havard said the project will result in a “first-of-its-kind green datacentre” and will be an important test of its hydrogen-energy concept.

“It is very important for us to demonstrate that our hydrogen-to-power solutions are suitable for customers with a strategic need for a reliable electricity supply,” he said. “This further development into the digital industry, where energy consumption is increasing every day, opens up a considerable worldwide market for us. The HDF-Atos partnership offers the first unique and sustainable infrastructure for this huge market.”

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