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Plans for floating data centre in Singapore revealed

By Nick Forrester, Tue 21 Apr 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Data centres in odd locations is not a new phenomenon: an old mine in a Norwegian fjord, a former WWII bunker, the Arctic Circle – these are all locations of some the weirdest data centres.

And now another one has entered the fray: a floating data centre which uses seawater for cooling is on the cards in Singapore, as Keppel Data Centres (KDC) announced today it had signed separate memoranda of understanding to study the feasibility of developing a Floating Data Centre Park in Singapore’s famous harbour. 

With the growing global demand for data centres, KDC’s floating data centre concept is an environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient way to meet the expanding needs of the digital economy. 

Data centres consume significant amounts of energy for cooling purposes, especially in the tropics. 

A floating data centre would utilize seawater for cooling and would be much more energy-efficient than conventional land-based data centres. 

It avoids the wasteful evaporation of cooling potable water, which occurs in conventional data centres as a result of utilising cooling towers.

In addition, floating data centres free up valuable land for other urban uses, making it a particularly attractive proposition for land-scarce cities like Singapore.
The concept would be the first-of-its-kind in Singapore and is envisioned to optimise energy usage by integrating liquid natural gas (LNG) and possibly hydrogen infrastructure for onsite power generation. 

“We are pleased to harness the diverse capabilities of the Keppel Group to explore the development of [floating data centres] as part of our suite of solutions for sustainable urbanisation,” says Keppel Data Centres chief executive officer Wong Wai Meng.

“We see great potential in floating data centres as a commercially viable and attractive innovation that conserves land, water and energy, compared to traditional land-based data centres.
“Our floating data centre concept will feature a modular design, which can be scaled up quickly according to customers’ demand. 

“Fabrication of floating data centres can be done quickly and cost-effectively in controlled environments such as Keppel Offshore & Marine’s yards and deployed in a ‘plug-and-play’ manner. 

“This greatly reduces the construction-related carbon footprint of data centres, as well as the development costs and speed to market,” says Meng.

“Given the modular design, new floating data centre modules can be readily developed and deployed to replace the older ones, while the older floating data centre modules can be recycled for deployment in other locations, thus contributing to the circular economy.”

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