A little more than two years after laying the foundation stone, Eni has opened its new Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (Pavia). The building will host Eni’s central computer processing systems, both for information management and seismic simulation processing (High Performance Computing).
“Let's give energy a new energy” is the philosophy which underlies Eni’s decision to make the project available to universities and research centers - an open model to ensure that Eni’s investment may be a prototype of excellence, innovative and sustainable.
The new center (Italian in design and construction) will be among the most important in Europe in terms of its purpose and size (5,200 useful m2, up to 30MW of IT power and up to 50kW/m2 of energy density) and the best in the world for energy efficiency. Thanks to its innovative infrastructure it will cut CO2 emissions by 335,000 tons per year (about 1% of the Italian Kyoto energy target), and significantly reduce operating costs.
The Green Data Center achieved the world energy efficiency record for mega-centers, which is measured as the ratio between total energy consumption and the energy which is consumed by the IT equipment. For the new Data Center this ratio will be 1.2 - the best result in the world and well below the Italian average, which still shows values between 2 and 3.
The efficiency of the Green Data Center mainly stems from the special cooling system used, with six flues which give its skyline a distinctive shape. In order to dissipate the heat generated by the data processing systems and to cool the computer equipment, traditional Data Centers make uninterrupted, year-round use of air conditioning and forced ventilation systems. The Eni Green Data Center however, has an air-treatment system that cools its computers using air directly from outside for at least 75% of the year. This direct free-cooling technique means the air conditioners are switched on less than 25% of the time.
The result is even more outstanding when you consider that the center is situated on the 45th parallel, whereas Data Centers with similar characteristics are generally found further north, in cooler environments (such as the Rocky Mountains in the United States).
Moreover, the free-cooling technique returns cleaner air to the external environment. Before reaching the computers, the air from outside is filtered, thus removing about 3000 kilogrammes of dust per year.
The plant was built in the immediate vicinity of the Enipower Ferrera Erbognone power station, which best suits the Data Center’s energy requirements. The readily available power is produced by gas turbines with natural gas; the cleanest of all the fossil fuels.
To support the innovative design of the Green Data Center, Eni's technology partners have developed new solutions: for example, on the electricity front, Eni has directly commissioned the development and certification of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems which are activated only when needed with maximum efficiency.