Stephen Naumann

Stephen Naumann

Show Video

Steve, over to you, buddy. Thanks. Steve is a fantastic person. Gave me the best job I ever had in government and I can't wait.. He worked at Social Security, building the best data center the federal government's delivered. And thank you, Steve, for doing this.

Thank you, Tom. All right. My panelists can come off mute and turn your cameras on. So, disruptive technology, challenging traditional technology to change operational paradigms and attitudes, educating and proving to people that new ways can and do work. The past two years have shown that data centers are the cornerstone of our entire economy and are the most important part of our critical national infrastructure. Everything is digital and runs in data centers, whether you call it cloud, edge, on prem, key mission facilities.

At some point, it hones back to a data center, a physical building. Infrastructure masons puts out a factoid that says, we’ll need 34 times the amount of data centers over the next ten years. We can build brownfield data centers all across the country and closed factories, military bases closed by BRAC schools, shopping centers and prisons. How do we get the federal sector on equal footing with what's available in the private sector? And how do we incentivize diversifying and geographically dispersing our data center inventory. And, require more sustainable, clean energy and to remission, recycle and reuse. We hear terminology associated with their data centers, “data center optimization management,” “active energy management,” “carbon negative,” “energy security,” “energy autonomy,” “national security.”

We've heard at this summit that one of the biggest issues with the federal sector is inertia. We need to make it easier for the federal government to quickly move between providers for when contracts change and for coop in the air. The past few years I've been working with academia and industry, technology and strategy innovators to help bend the needle forward. I have with me here today, Angel Rodriguez, Geothermal Engineer, Ph.D. from Harvard, concentrating on building geothermal powered off-grid, microgrid data centers. Jason Minetti of Mint Energy has developed an advanced graphene battery that is magnitudes better than any battery in use today and can be used in data centers for active energy management.

We also have Svein Hagaseth and he's the Sustainability Lead at Green Mountain Data Centers of Norway. I think it's important that we get to hear viewpoints from outside of our country to see how folks are handling the data center economic ecosystem. Green Mountain data centers have some very transformative technology and strategies for that.

Svein, like myself, is part of the Open Compute Project. I encourage you to visit the website and feel free to contact me to find out more about how it affects and benefits the federal sector. So, let's start off with Angel. Angel, briefly explain your technologies.

And it's already mentioned about the West Warren Project. So, go ahead and take about 5 minutes and do your thing. Thank you, Steve.

Thank you, Mr. Santucci. And Mr. Andersen, for the great introduction. Again, my name is Angel Rodriguez and I'm based at the Harvard Kennedy School for Government as a research fellow. And really, my project is developing a strategic roadmap for converting such brownfield properties into what we can call sustainable data center campuses. This is really done in four easy steps. To simplify, First step is we identify the brownfield using EPA compliance guidelines and really layering on a zip code sort of map.

Once we've identified that zip code and the brownfield, then again following EPA guidelines to evaluate and clean up the property. Second step is we transform the legacy energy footprint of the facility using geothermal power, geothermal energy sources; it's sort of power from subsurface heat. And we apply this first as a heating and cooling mechanism for the facility, and secondly, as a power generation, sort of microgrid. With this new infrastructure, the data center design is now able to utilize these sort of resilient and reliable energy sources, as well as take advantage of the cost benefit associated with them.

Now, what we're seeing is in our projections or modeling that when you stack the technology stack and its value stack, as I described, there's a potential outcome of close to 500 jobs. There is also an attractiveness to the zip code that was previously economically divested and interests of new industry, sustainable industry, that would also like to benefit from the energy and low cost of that power. And in so doing, we can really clearly define areas for tax revenue, again for a previously disadvantaged zip code, workforce training opportunities and ultimately a technology hub.

Now, the incredible aspect of doing this in a town like Warren, Massachusetts, which is 70 miles west of Boston, is that we are helping a town of 6000 people to convert a textile mill that has been at this in the town for over a century. It's been 20 years abandoned. But, in those 20 years, you can see the economic impacts of that.

So, part of my strategy is integrating technology, economic policy and energy efficiency as a sort of conversion strategy for those types of products. Great. Thanks Angel. Alright, we have Svein Hagaseth of Green Mountain Data Centers Svein, go ahead and give your five minute overview. Thank you very much, Steve, and thanks, first of all, for letting me speak at this conference.

It's a great pleasure to be able to share our perspectives and experiences from our European standpoint. Although I'm based out of Toronto, which is at least very close to the U.S., but, Green Mountain is a co-location data center provider built on a sustainability-first strategy.

And our mission has always been since we started to be able to set the Green Standard and as Steve also mentioned, be able to push the needle to what a sustainable data center actually is, right? When we started our journey back in 2009, it was to identify how we, by leveraging the unique features of Norway and the local society, could build what we believe to be the world's most sustainable and energy efficient data center. We believe that we have managed to do so, and that the technologies used has developed since we started, where we started with a focus on reuse, renewables and energy efficiency, but where we now see that the sustainability data center aspect is included, a much kind of broader circularity aspect. And I'll get a little bit further into that as we continue to move forward.

But the ambition now is to build a truly circular economy with the data center at the core of that economy. So, initially when we started with our first data center, we decided to build it inside a NATO naval facility, which was for sale, and it's located outside of Stavanger in Norway. So, thank you very much, U.S., for all the investments into our data center, we greatly appreciate it. But we were able to kind of utilize that the facility which was for sale, due to the demilitarization of NATO and this used to be a storage facility for mines, torpedoes and mobile hospitals, etc. It was a mountain-hole facility, so, in reference to the earlier speaker as well, we had a data center with six mountain holes located more than 100 meters inside a mountain close to 250,000 square feet of space.

And we utilized that data center to create what was an EMP, secure data center, military grade security and a full re-use of that facility. The challenge when you have a mountain data center is how do you get rid of the heat from all the or the heat from the servers inside the data center? And so, how do we actually cool the data center? One of the technologies that we use since we are located adjacent to fjord was to use the fjord and the water in the fjord as the cooling factors, we've built a cooling station, we blasted two basins, we collect the water at 100 meter or 300 feet depth outside, and the water flows into the these basins by use of gravity. So, you can actually see the tidal movements inside the water basins. And then we have a closed water loop inside the data center because we don't want to bring saltwater inside the data center. We transition to water through a heat exchanger and we only use two small pumps to circulate the water inside of data centers. We use about 2 to 3 kilowatt of power to get the equivalent of a thousand kilowatts of cooling.

So, super efficient. And so, that's one of the technologies. But this water cooling also enables us to futureproof the data center, because with water you are able to control the water flow and control different types of densities inside the data center, which means that you can host a client with very low utilization of the servers and one with a very, very high. So, we have clients who have one kilowatt per rack and we have clients who have 80, 90 kilowatts per rack. And that flexibility is enabled through the use of this solution. So, let me go quickly with what Jason has.

Jason has developed a graphene battery. And what I find really fascinating about this is we can use it for active energy management within data centers. One of the worst parts of the data centers for me is the battery room with all the acid and chill packs and things like that. It just scares me to walk in there in case something should ever blow up. I don’t want to be rained on with acid. So, these these graphene batteries are hundreds, if not thousands, of times better than traditional batteries.

They don't have to be environmentally controlled. You can have a battery room in a data center that has no environmental controls. You're saving energy that way. And they they can be charged and discharged at higher rates and for longer periods of time. So, what we're planning on doing with that, and I'm trying to get some support for this throughout the federal sector is to install these batteries and then charge them up during periods of low cost of energy and then discharge them in periods of high cost. So, we even out the cost and we can start utilizing lower cost energy.

So, we've heard from Angel and Svein about the environmental impacts. And let's talk about some of the byproducts that we can do that can help the surrounding communities. We can have, like I've heard about hydrogen, we can use hydrogen reuse that.

So, Angel, talk about West Warren and specifically about the the textile factory and the water and charging stations. Sure, Steve. So, the interesting thing about the West, Warren example is we're taking a facility that was the economic engine for this town 100 years ago, built in 1890, a textile mill employed most of the town, and more importantly, it was structurally set up to receive federal government procurement contracts through defense.

For example, parachutes were manufactured at that textile mill for some of the different wars that the U.S. fought in. So, in addition to sort of the economic structure and the physical engineering of the property already set up to manufacture, when this facility closed in Warren, so did the jobs that closed. So, how does a town like Warren restart and recover its manufacturing center that can then really recreate the jobs and the economic development that is desired? And so, part of what we're seeing is the data center is driving some of the demand for clean power, but that demand for clean power and the low cost of it being shared with other manufacturing operations on the same property.

For example, in Massachusetts, different forms of farming are very popular, especially in western Massachusetts. We could potentially bring in a vertical farm at the facility to utilize the power that the data center is also Now much, we can go down the stream here but, if you think of the various ways that artificial intelligence is being applied to vertical farming in agriculture, that can also benefit from the data management center that the data center would offer. So, creating like, Svien said, it's a kind of ecosystem that at the center, the data center sort of supports and enables at the same time. So, that's great. And I think people need to understand that what the the economic opportunities in data center affords, and I call it the data center economic ecosystem.

So, everyone's heard the old joke “learn to code” all these energy jobs are going away, traditional energy jobs. So, you have to learn to that,. Well, not everybody can be a coder, but you can be an HVAC technician, you can be a groundskeeper, you can be a security guard.

And now we're talking about farming. So, Svien has some interesting things to point out about what Green Mountain does with the environmental ecosystem around data centers and the and the economic opportunities that affords. So, Svien can you talk about that? I like hearing about the fish farms and all the things associated with the data center. That's not I.T.

Yeah. So, like I said, we wanted to use the data center as kind of the central element of creating a circular economy. It's about two, two and a half years ago we did a survey where we looked at how can we use our waste product, which is basically heat into other industries. So, we surveyed about 35 different industries, found five.

That was a really, really good fit, including on-shore lobster or on-shore fish farming, which Steve just mentioned. So, we didn't want to and the popular thing in the Nordics is to connect the data center district heating solution, and that is one of the elements into that. But, there are other better opportunities where we could use the heat directly without having to add additional aspects because we produce low grade heat from a data center. So, in a district heating, you need to increase the temperature to 60 to 80 degrees Celsius and to be able to use a district heating system. The water that comes from our data center is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So, by connecting that directly to what Steve mentioned, a lobster farm, we just don't get it right outside the fences of our data center.

We can use that water directly. And then we use our waste into a benefit for that lobster because the optimal breeding temperature for lobster is around 70 degrees. That means that in natural habitats, breeding a plate sized lobster takes around five years because of the changes in temperature.

By providing a constant temperature of around 70 degrees, you reduce that breeding cycle from five years to 18 months to two years. So, it's a significant cost benefit, a significant sustainability aspect. The other aspect of that is that both lobster farming and fish farming, etc., they produce waste like normal, living, breathing things that you can collect that waste. And that's a very, very important fertilizer.

So, by putting that in front of the fence of the data center, you can dry that and create a fertilizer which then can be used in the greenhouses, which also can use the excess heat from the data center. So, it's about creating that circular type of aspect and creating that ecosystem. And that brings me to the other aspect of this, and this is the actual consequences.

So, we have a very, very progressive government in Norway which promotes data center development for different reason. They did a consequence survey of being the first country in the world with their own data center strategy just last year. And it shows that for every megawatt of deployed capacity, it creates 17 new direct and indirect jobs.

And in Green Mountain, we have three facilities today, 25, 40 and 75 megawatt. So, a total of 130 megawatt. So, if you take that kind of math, it means that the data center development on its own creates around 2,200 new jobs. So, it's a significant opportunity to increase job creation by using the data center as a kind of aspect for growth.

And we do the same thing as Angel mentioned as well, is that we're now moving into a steel factory or a decommissioned steel factory for one of our data centers. So, and one of the things that I like about this, this way of doing data centers is most data center companies will go in and want to do greenfield because they want to get them up as soon as possible. What I would like to see is brownfield all across the country and all those sites that I mentioned.

Think of all the factories and all the manufacturing that's gone out of our country and that we can turn those factories into data centers. They have all the the right requirements that satisfy what a data center needs. And there was something mentioned before about oil wells and reclaiming those.

So, Angel, talk more about geothermal, specifically and how it works and how you can where you can do it. And everyone's heard of geothermal. Most everybody hears about in residential where you put a loop in the ground and use it for cooling. But we're actually talking about geothermal powered data centers producing power. And this is pretty much EMP. You know, EMP doesn't affect it.

You drill down, you get to the heat, you put basically a steam engine and a small footprint on the surface. And you can power things indefinitely because as long as we have a molten core on earth, we're going to have power. But Angel, talk more about that. Sure Steve thanks, you know, geothermal, as I mentioned in my intro, is has been around for a century. It is not something that is necessarily innovative or some refer to it as the forgotten renewable, Right? In this sort of recent wave of renewable energy support, the biggest challenge to geothermal outside of it's sort of resource, identifying the resource.

The biggest hurdle has has been economically. So, the high capital expense cost of a geothermal development project tends to be conflicted with the projected revenue that it can gain from selling power to the grid. Now, what we're talking about here is offering another diversifying the commercial sort of road for a geothermal development project, not to depend on just grid or sort BPA to the grid, but be utilized in multiple different ways at a manufacturing level.

Data centers being a key example here, potential other high and energy intensive operations. So, there is an exciting landscape of emerging technologies that are enabling deeper, faster, more reliable geothermal recovery. And some of those include Kwasi, who is at MIT, sort of down the road. And then there is a few others and sort of these deep technology hubs right now looking for implementation projects.

So, one of the things that excites me about this emerging geothermal landscape for wider use is that they're going to want off-takers like what we're proposing of brownfield converted data centers to really match with that power load. And if we and I would say if I can sort of put a question out to government and say where we can use help, it would be really identifying how best to bring in the different tax incentives that are sort of around the energy and sustainability legislation and policy. And how can we better understand that on a scenario like a brownfield conversion? Because if we can better understand the tax incentives, I think the risk mechanism of something like geothermal could be drastically reduced.

And that brings me to the next question about interaction with governing bodies in developing and implementing your technologies by having a public/private partnership. Now, Svein, can you go into that? It seems like you all have a lot of working relationships. And then Angel, let's take two and a half minutes each, And then because I'm going to give you a closing thoughts.

So Svien? Yeah, like I mentioned earlier, the Norwegian government is very progressive in regards to data center development. It was the first country and I still think the only country in the world who, have their own data center strategy. And there's a few reasons for that. So, they wanted to kind of incentivize development of data centers in Norway and there's a few reasons for that. We are a cold and wet country, and so not exactly for tourists, but for data center, it's perfect because it means that you can achieve a high degree of energy efficiency in the data centers.

In addition, we have 100% renewable generation in Norway and we have a cost point of that renewable power of around 3 cents. So, there's a very good cost aspect of doing that. That is something that they felt was a competitive advantage for Norway. So, they kind of put in place incentives both in regards to taxation for the industry and not for individual companies, establishing in Norway. So, it's a wide incentive program that reduces the taxation and no VAT on remote delivered services, no VAT on the equipment going into the data center, but also investments into fiber capacity.

And we have seen 10 to 15 new fiber projects being built into Norway as part of that that plan. So, influencing different government bodies has been important. We continue to have very, very good dialog with the local, both the local and the central government in Norway. And they are, like I said, very, very progressive, especially when they saw the consequences of this report in regards to job creation. And that's one of the main reasons why I'm so intent on getting data centers built in all these small communities all across the countries.

We have to then build out the infrastructure that so then we can get things connected from, you know, people that didn't have it before will be connected. So, Angel, talk about all the help that EDA has been with the economic opportunities and workforce training and things like that. Yeah, sure Steve. So, when we were beginning the project in Warren, it was, it was very clear there are as many opportunities to go to government and say, hey, that'd be a great opportunity for for there to be collaboration at a municipal township level. Again, Warren is a town, its population is under 10,000 people.

We found the best sort of response and path to success with the Economic Development Administration. And the reason was because we framed the data center as a job training opportunity and energy efficiency, again, opportunity. And lastly, for a town like Warren, it's very much still within the data digital divide sort of gap.

There's not a lot of internet access, broadband, etc.. So, by successfully applying to an EDA build back challenge with the town of Warren or through the town of Warren, we can start integrating some of that big support that has an effect beyond just a data center, but it really uplifts a whole town from providing communications to providing better roads, to providing energy, and environmental service jobs. And so, that sort of vision is what Warren is trying to implement. That is, again, benefits not just Warren, but a whole regional impact in central Massachusetts.

And what really got me was when we had that meeting with the city council and they literally said, you're giving us hope. So, that was pretty powerful. Yes, Steve, the last thing I'll say is these projects were seen as having great bipartisan support. And for projects that need support both from sides of the aisle, it's very difficult for there to be disagreement due to the job, the sustainability, the investment capacity and ultimately the historical factor of recovering an asset that's been around for over 100 years in the U.S..

Well, you know what I always say it's not red, it's not blue, it's red, white and blue. So, Svein you had a comment? Yeah, I just wanted to kind of say the same thing, is that same thing in Norway, very, very broad bipartisan support. And like I said, when we built our data center as well, we got the kind of the same feedback that Angel mentioned, the ability to kind of create hope and re-initiate something in in a community that is that's kind of, not lost hope, but where things were kind of further down the trade.

So, our DC to route camp facility was built in Norway's most traditional industrial town, but where they had moved out and even when we came with the plans we got the building permits that the regulation done in 23 hours. So, very, very progressive government or a local government that wanted to get this done. Okay. So, we have 3 minutes left.

Let's get your parting thoughts and your hope for the future and for your technology and processes. Angel, you go first. Sure. Yeah, Svein, I think it's so interesting how we see very much similar patterns around the world with these types of integrations.

So, for me, really, the important message that I hope to leave here is, environmental justice when it takes the shape of a brownfield property can be measured, can be sort of observed, and we can really provide strategic interventions for that. And I think oftentimes when environmental justice is spoken, few people think about data centers, right? But the fact that a brownfield property and according to the EPA, there's close to a million in the United States, not counting the the BRAC programs, Steve, but just in general, EPA, if we can even reduce 10% of those brownfields by converting them into 10% in future proof data centers, I think we were off to a great start in achieving some of the many goals that have been announced across all government and industry. And so, hopefully this strategy helps us connect those dots and achieve those goals a lot faster.

All right, thanks Angel. Svein? Yeah, I think my parting thing is that as we hopefully have visualized, there's a lot of opportunities to continue to push the needle on what is considered sustainable and that there is a large business opportunity in local communities to be able to utilize existing infrastructure and build new infrastructure and build new jobs in different territories. I think by doing this we also continue to push the needle in regards to what is sustainability and the ability to work together as an industry to to move towards a carbon neutral future.

Some locations can do that today. Some locations need some work, but professionalizing data centers globally, moving more into cloud type of data centers, co-location type of data center is a sustainability aspect in itself. So, I hope that we can kind of continue to integrate both data centers and other connecting business into a greater value chain as we continue to move forward. That's great and you know how I love all this stuff Svein. So, for my parting shot, I encourage you to visit Green Mountain Data Centers, their website, look at Mint Energy, look that up and you can see what sorry about Jason, Jason's in Doha at a conference industry conference and Angel, any material that you want to put forth, either put it in the chat or we’ll get it out there somehow. So, you can see all the things that you and I have been working on for the past several months.

So, it's 9:56, one second. Tom, back to you. Great panel Steve and I went on Green Mountain's website and saw a great calendar on how to reduce greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions or measure it. So, nice job, guys.

2023-01-22 05:50

Show Video

Other news