Iomart hails carbon emission-slashing cooling tech at Glasgow data centre

Iomart, the Glasgow-headquartered cloud computing group, is trialling a “first of its kind” cooling system that could slash data centre carbon emissions.

The firm said results for the new technology indicated the potential for an up to 50 per cent reduction in electrical power consumption by the site’s cooling system. Data centres are heavy consumers of power with substantial cooling required for the banks of computer servers.

Iomat believes that the prototype passive cooling system in its Glasgow facility could have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of the data centre industry as a whole and help the sector on its way to carbon neutrality.

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Glasgow-based Katrick Technologies has designed, patented and manufactured a system that uses heat energy, in this case a by-product of a data centre’s day-to-day operations, to power the cooling systems for the servers.

Iomart CEO Reece Donovan says the project is able to play an active role in taking steps towards a greener future for the tech industry. Picture: Peter Devlin
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The technology, which aims to replace the energy intensive condensers that account for almost half of a data centre’s electricity consumption, captures heat energy and, through the use of bi-fluids, converts it into “fluid vibrations” which, in turn, move specially designed fins to create the desired cooling effect.

The patented technology was installed at the company’s Glasgow site last month and tests performed on the passive cooling system show that it is performing better than expected.

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Reece Donovan, chief executive of Iomart, said: “Data centres are essential to a more connected, digital future, but the environmental impact of the sector is something the industry has to come to terms with.

“Through projects like this, we are able to play an active role in taking steps towards a greener future for the tech industry. We are delighted to have already seen the potential impact of this technology at our Glasgow data centre.”

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Vijay Madlani, co-chief executive of Katrick Technologies, added: “These tests show Katrick’s passive cooling system could reduce a data centre’s total energy consumption by up to 25 per cent per cent. Innovation is essential in the fight against climate change, and these test results clearly show a major step forward in reducing the environmental impact of not just one data centre, but of the whole industry.”

At the start of last month, Iomart warned of results that will fail to match up to market expectations but insisted that it has built “solid foundations to support future growth”.

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The group told investors that it was progressing with the launch of a new brand, the release of new products and scoring its first “hybrid customer win” during the six months to September.

However, bosses warned that the firm’s “refreshed strategy” would take time to flow through into its financial results.

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Iomart also cautioned that a “slightly higher than usual” customer churn rate seen in the final months of the last financial year had continued into the first half of the current period.

In a trading update ahead of its detailed first-half figures, due to be released in early December, the firm stressed that profit margins have remained strong in the period.

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In June, Donovan said the firm had identified “a significant market opportunity” to grow its offering as the workplace becomes increasingly digital focused.

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