Energy is something we have come to rely on and in many respects take for granted. Whether it is the steady power of electricity delivered into our offices through sockets or the convenience of batteries that power our appliances, power is always available. Our reliance on power is so pervasive that it is taking a huge toll on the environment. For this reason, it is vital for companies around the world to look to reduce their energy usage and find more sustainable ways of powering their businesses. The ICT industry is among the highest when it comes to energy consumption. In fact, the ICT ecosystem accounts for almost 10% of world electricity generation, which is equivalent to the entire energy consumption of Germany and Japan combined. Much of this energy consumption is out of sight and its impacts have not yet become visible enough to compel businesses to take action. However, immediate action is vital.
Eaton, Nissan and the partners of the GreenDataNet project have a common vision: helping data centres and other stationary storage applications, improving their energy and environmental performance. As each individual and business begins to generate more data, the GreenDataNet Consortium aims to reduce the environmental impact of this data explosion by designing a new smart energy management system.
The Eaton R&D team, working closely with the Nissan team, have been able to successfully test and validate the integration of 2nd life Nissan Li-ion batteries leveraging the existing Eaton UPS product portfolio. Integrating the constraints associated to the use of automotive batteries for stationary applications, theoretically, the full storage could be available for power 99.3% of the year.
The storage system could also be connected to a solar power source where the power could either be consumed directly by a user system or stored on the Nissan battery and reused at a later time to perform peak shaving and demand response functionalities. This huge leap in power supply demonstrates the availability of renewable energy from sources that were not previously thought possible and gives hope to powering data centres through more sustainable means in the future.
Businesses and individuals are constantly online and with portable devices becoming more common we are creating more and more data. Data centres are being built faster than ever to handle this data explosion and the environmental impact needs to be controlled.
Eaton, Nissan and the other members of GreenDataNet project are now looking to continue the research into the use of 2nd life batteries to improve power output and efficiency to create a viable sustainable source of energy capable of powering data centres and also other stationary storage applications. GreenDataNet has shown that change is possible.
Eaton EMEA and Nissan Europe are collaborating in the GreenDataNet project with five other partners to develop more energy-efficient and environment-friendly data centres. One of the objectives is to demonstrate the opportunity to increase the share of renewables as part of the energy consumed by urban data centers. EV batteries may be used to store renewable energy when cost of electricity is low and release it at peak times to allow data center operators to save money and contribute to peak shaving.