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Atos and HDF Energy to develop the first green hydrogen datacenter

February 2021 by Marc Jacob

Atos and HDF Energy announce their plan to develop a complete end-to-end long-term solution to supply datacenters with green hydrogen generated by renewable energy. The new solution by Atos and HDF will be the first available on the market for datacenters with heavy power consuming workloads, with the aim to demonstrate, in 2023, a first full production center operated using green hydrogen.

Atos will provide a complete end-to-end green datacenter solution by designing and providing the hardware, software and integration services that make it possible to exploit the electricity produced by green hydrogen so that it can be used in datacenters. This includes using the most advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to optimize energy consumption. HDF Energy will supply a power plant, which will provide predictable and firm electricity thanks to its high-powered fuel cells. These cells will be powered by green hydrogen derived from photovoltaic or wind farms.

A major technological challenge

Datacenters have high energy needs, operate 24/7, 365 days a year, and cannot experience the slightest energy flaw. Therefore, the approach taken by Atos and HDF is particularly ambitious, as by its very nature, solar or wind energy is clean but intermittent, variable in its production and unpredictable, making it an unstable energy.

At a time when datacenter energy consumption is becoming a key issue and it is essential to consider new energy models, this new solution from Atos and HDF will enable datacenter operators and cloud operators to anticipate potential future constraints set by regulation authorities and offer a sustainable but reliable solution to their customers, with no compromise on their business.

Combining expertise to reduce the carbon footprint

Atos’ solution includes a software layer to predict the datacenter’s power consumption needs and adapt the resource (green hydrogen) accordingly. This complex process is not only based on the datacenter’s activity and size but also takes into account external data from the environment, such as weather forecasting. To this, Atos brings its HPC expertise – an area in which it, as the leading supercomputer manufacturer in Europe, has several groundbreaking innovations which limit the energy consumption of its systems . Thanks to its expertise in high-power hydrogen technologies, HDF has developed a new type of power plant which is totally stable, non-polluting and competitive, compared to fossil fuel generators. The availability constraints of the datacenter will be incorporated in the design of Renewstable® and will enable HDF to offer the highest level of service for the most demanding consumers.

This initiative represents a new and major milestone in Atos’ Net Zero 2028 decarbonization ambition. In 2020, Atos has already accelerated its datacenter decarbonization program with encouraging progress in energy efficiency, which has materialized into a 15% decrease of global energy consumption of Atos datacenters versus 2019. In addition, carbon-free and renewable energy now power 55% of all of Atos datacenters (versus 32% in 2019). Additionally, since 2014, Atos has been providing carbon neutral hosting services to its clients by offsetting 100% of its datacenters’ emissions. Atos also recently signed the Climate Neutral Datacenter Pact together with 35 other companies and associations from across Europe, emphasizing the industry’s contribution to the ‘European Green Deal’.

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