Singapore tech players team up to drive tropical data center solutions



An artist’s impression of the STDCT which will be hosted on the Kent Ridge campus of NUS.

Credit: NUS

Singapore technology players Keppel Data Centers, Ascenix, CoolestDC, New Media Express and Red Dot Analytics have joined forces with two of Singapore’s top universities to create data center solutions for tropical climates.

The companies have partnered with National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore), in a new S $ 23 million research program to develop Innovative and sustainable cooling solutions for data centers located in tropical areas.

As part of the alliance, a state-of-the-art test bench will be set up at NUS to promote the co-creation and demonstration of advanced cooling technologies.

Overall, the Sustainable Tropical Data Center Testbed (STDCT), as it is named, will serve as an innovation hub for academia and industry to work together to sustain the local region’s data center industry.

Organized by the Cooling Energy Science and Technology Singapore (CoolestSG) Consortium hosted at NUS, the program will see researchers develop and test energy-efficient cooling technologies in the tropical environment of data centers, with the hope that the effort will lead to technological breakthroughs in space.

The test bench should be operational by October 1, 2021.

Always a challenge, keeping data centers cool in hot and humid climates requires a lot of energy. However, as industry and governments strive to reduce emissions, new solutions are constantly being developed to reduce the amount of power required to cool servers.

The new program, which is jointly funded by the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) and lead industry partner Facebook, will feature a number of new and emerging cooling techniques, such as a novel heat exchanger design. desiccant coating and equipment such as a StatePoint. Liquid cooling system (SPLC).

SPLC, developed by Nortek Air Solutions in partnership with Facebook, helps data centers operate more efficiently in tropical regions.

The combination of these and other technologies is expected to result in a more energy efficient cooling solution for buildings in a tropical climate, using ambient air that is otherwise warm and humid. In addition, innovative hybrid cooling at the chip level will be adopted to keep servers cool.

In addition, the intelligent exploitation of these technologies using artificial intelligence (AI), with digital twin capability, is expected to make the data center infrastructure more water and energy efficient while ensuring the longevity of data center equipment and servers.

Singapore, being an eminently tropical country claiming a high saturation of data centers serving the region, constitutes a perfect environment to develop and test such technology.

Indeed, Singapore supplies around 60% of data centers located in Southeast Asia, according to NUS, with city-state data centers consuming nearly 7% of the country’s total energy needs, a figure expected to rise to 12%. % by 2030.

“Data centers are the backbone of Singapore’s national digital transformation, and there is a need to improve their energy efficiency and sustainability as we continue to grow as a data center hub,” said NTU Senior Vice President of Research, Lam Khin Yong.

“On the NTU Smart Campus, our scientists have developed award-winning artificial intelligence technologies to address these challenges as part of the NTU 2025 strategic plan and will adapt them for testing at the sustainable tropical data center test bed.

“The initiative is a national open innovation platform where academics and industry players jointly develop and test new cooling technologies that will benefit the entire data center ecosystem,” said he added.

Research at STDCT will be co-led by researchers from the NUS and NTU, as well as partners from the data center industry and active input from relevant government agencies.

STDCT research activities are to be organized into four work packages: Tropical Air-Cooled Data Center 2.0; Indirect evaporative cooling enhanced by desiccant coated heat exchanger for tropical operations; Hybrid Direct Chip Cooling; and Cognitive Digital Twin.

These cooling technologies, together, are expected to significantly reduce energy consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared to conventional data centers that are traditionally air-cooled.

If adopted industry-wide across the tropical region, the power consumption of the data center sector could potentially be reduced by at least 40%, the universities suggested.

In the longer term, STDCT plans to recommend operating guidelines and establish new standards based on the proven results of new technologies, for greener data center operations.

In March, two of the organizations involved in the data center initiative, Keppel and Facebook, combined their efforts to build and own a new 15,000 km submarine cable system connecting Singapore to North America via the ‘Indonesia.

Specifically, Singapore’s Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation subsidiaries, Facebook and Telkom Indonesia have reached an agreement to build the new submarine transmission cable, dubbed the Bifrost Cable System.

Scheduled for completion in 2024, the Bifrost cable system will link Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Guam and the west coast of North America.

Tags data centersKeppel Data CentersAscenixCoolestDC



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