Good energy on the second general assembly of the association
It has been less than two years since the beginning, but what a development! The Data Center Industry held its second general assembly hosted by Schneider Electric in Kolding on the 5th of March, and the association has come very far since the beginning on the 30th of March 2017.
“It has been a fantastic development until now – and we see lots of indications that this development will continue in the coming years,” said chairman, Thomas Volder, while showing a map of the many projects on data centers and data connections in Denmark.
“Besides several big data centers, we also have even better, international connections in the offing. There are several different reasons why Denmark is on its way to become a Nordic datahub, and I really hope that we will see more things coming in the next couple of years.”
At the same time, Thomas Volder pleasently announced that the Danish Data Center Industry has 77 members at this writing. Furthermore, the secretary has been strengthened, especially with the employment of Merima Dzanic, who has brought in great experience and a strong network in the international data center industry.
Amongst other things, Merima presented the new features on the webpages, which is still under development. At the same time, she encouraged the members to actively use the webpage – for example to download and share information.
“In the members area, you have access to material such as presentations and whitepapers. If you have any other material, you would like to share with the other members, please send it to us, and do also let us know, if you have any other desires regarding the members page,” sounded the request from Merima Dzanic.
She has also been the driving force behind the first webinar hosted by the association, which turned out to be a great success with interesting speakers and many partipants. There will be more webinars on the way, with the next one being the 4th of April, and the association will continue its development according to needs and desires from its members.
“We can also assist you with setting up meetings and bringing people together. With regards to export, we do have a limited geography in Denmark, so at some point we will have fulfilled the potential at home. Then our ambition is, that you as members have gained your own competencies, experience and track records, so that you can contribute in the process of building the next data centers in the world,” stated Thomas Volder.
“We can see, that the danish contributions in data centers increase, so this is an export adventure, which must be cultivated.”
The next big event is the conference ‘Data Centers Denmark’, which will be held on 15th of May in the UN City in Copenhagen. You can find more information on the event of the year at the webpage of the conference.
The formal part of the general assembly was conducted in a fast and effective manner with an orientation on the operation of the association, membership fees and a change in the board of directors, as Business Development Manager, Lars Mejsner, from Grundfos replaces Christian Jølck.
The general assembly was followed by a network meeting focusing on green energy and energy storage. Tina Schou, country sales director in Schneider Electric and vice chairman of the association, welcomed everybody as the host and set the tone with an example of the development from her own world.
“We are now in Schneider Technology Center, where 200 employees here in Kolding work with the development for data centers on a global scale. Originally, Schneider acquired the local production company, Silkon, right here – and now it is a development center,” said Tina Schou.
“On a general level, we can look at the resources of the globe for the next 40 years, where the accumulated energy consumption is expected to increase up to 50%. At the same time, it is the goal to halve the emission, so this means that we need to be three times more effective.”
On this ambitious note, she could pass the time and give the floor to her colleague, Morten Støvring, CEO at Schneider Electic IT Denmark.
In the first presentation of the day, he took his starting point in energy storage for UPS battery systems (uninterruptible power supply) and the structural changes in the energy system, for example in California’s socalled ‘duck curve’ for power consumption. With good intensions and a bit of imagination, this curve looks more and more like a duck with a big dive in the consumption in the middle of the day and an increasing peak in the evening, which form the head of the duck.
“Some trends have a surprising effect, and in the middle of the day there are now periods, where there is no power consumption in California due to the increase in solar cells. California is plastered with solar cells nowadays,” underlined Morten Støvring.
“Normally, electricity would be expensive during the day, but in 2020 there might be an overproduction in the middle of the day.”
This development opens up for new opportunities to store energy in the middle of the day and transfer it to the peak time – and maybe even earn money on it.
“If you have a big consumption – as for example a data center – then you will have some power to move around with, and in the future you might make do with less capacity for the peak time and get the rest from a battery system,” said Morten Støvring.
“For data centers it is critical with the peak time, and no failures can be tolerated. But the modern systems with lithium-ion batteries can be connected with monitor systems, making it not just a ‘stupid’ battery, but a smart battery, which monitors and protects itself. And there will also come more software tools, which makes ‘peak power shaping’ possible. It requires, however, that you have the system behind it, and it also has to be technically possible to transfer electricity back to the grid,” emphasized Morten Støvring.
Sales engineer, Jean Baptiste Barbenchon, followed up with a presentation from the French company, PowiDian, that works with fuel cells and is a spin-off Airbus Defence & Space.
Through its five years of existence, PowiDian has come far with solutions that combine energy storage with fuel cells and/or for example solar cells and windmills.
”Fuel cells have now become a mature technology, and in the nearest fututre we will get CO2-free and competitive hydrogen to run them. At the same time, we expect a ban against fossil-driven backup generators in the city areas, and as fuel cells are scaleable, have minimal maintenance and an instantaneous start, fuel cells are very suitable as a backup – also for data centers,” emphasized Jean Baptiste Barbenchon. From the floor he was asked, when he expects the technology to become mainstream in the data center industry.
“Maybe in 10-20 years – the costs have decreased on the fuel cells, so from now on it depends on the price of hydrogen. The Nordics is the part of Europe that has shown greatest interest for the technology, and we are already working at projects in Norway, while Sweden has also displayed an interest.”
Speaking of Sweden, the last presentation of the day came from Swedish Peter Hellberg, who works with business development and sales at Vattenfall. In this presentation he talked about Vattenfall’s approach to the overall ‘grid challenge’.
“We experience an increased amount of data with the 5G-network just around the corner, more electric cars that need charging, Internet of Things, and a general electrification, which all together challenge the capacity of the electricity network, also called the grid, “stated Peter Hellberg.
“We have adequate production today, but we have not extended the grid to a degree that matches the future. Everyone in the industry works hard to extend the grid, but it takes a long time to make it future-proof – also so new users can be connected”, sounds the challenge, which is being met from various angles in Vattenfall.
Partly through a socalled ‘peak-shaving’ with aids such as battery systems, partly through an optimization of the grid with a local supplement such as solar cell production, partly through closed solutions, where a customer for example gets a solution to the charge of electric cars with solar cells and battery packages, which are not connected to the grid at all.
“At the moment, Vattenfall already runs several energy storages around Europe, and we perceive storage as a way to become more flexible on the road to fossil-free energy,” said Peter Hellberg.
“Storage can also replace conventional diesel-generators – for example in data centers, where we can also finance and take the responsibility for the entire high voltage.”
The network meetup concluded with a joint debate, where all the speakers answered questions from the floor and came with their estimates for the development in regards to battery technology, hydrogen and storage as part of the solution. It was also mentioned that a giant like Microsoft has already established a data center in Seattle, which is solely based on fuel cells.