Researchers from Massachusetts are working on a new project called Mass Net Zero Data Center which will be completely powered by renewable energy to emit less carbon. The study launched in February this year will be making Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center as a test bed which was built and completed in November 2012.
The project’s goal is to reduce data center energy consumption and increase data center’s ability to use renewable energy. For instance, a server hooked to an average power grid will use enough power to generate 1K kilograms of carbon dioxide in one year. But MassNZ will just be emitting 75 kilograms of carbon dioxide in one year.
The project is collaboration between the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, a supercomputing facility in Holyoke shared by the region’s major universities, including MIT, Harvard, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the local city-owned utility Holyoke Gas and Electric. It is funded partially by a National Science Foundation grant.
Currently, data centers operating all around the world are employing green computing strategies in their server environments. Either they are using a combination of renewable energy in their premises to fuel up their operations to a certain extent. Or are simply buying Renewable Energy Credits equivalent to some or all energy a data center consumes.
The project Mass Net Zero Data Center or MassNZ will work somewhat in similar lines. Already, MassNZ 200 square foot micro data center has been created for the research and is being powered by solar panels generating around 6 Kilowatts of solar power located next to it. It has renewable cooling systems and energy storage systems, comprised of Micro Flywheels and batteries. The researchers plan to deploy a variety of servers, storage systems, and networking gear in the facility. The facility will help in studying Genomes, Fungus, gravitational waves at the Earth’s poles and many such things like the distant alien civilization.
The researchers will also collect power, cooling, and workload data from micro data center and the 15MW HPC facility next to it to study opportunities to integrate data centers with smart grids, use machine learning and data to model sustainable data centers, and design new power management techniques for HPC applications. The facility will also serve as a distributed energy storage demonstration project by HG&E, the utility.
More details will be updated by this month end.