Balancing Data Center Expansion and Environmental Preservation: A Chinese Perspective

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Data centers serve as the bedrock of the digital economy, continuously growing to meet mounting demand for computational power. Still, the line between development and sustainability must not be blurred. China has made substantial strides in enforcing a “dual carbon” mandate to promote environmental preservation, specifically across data centers. Seen as a tool for widespread carbon reduction and enhancing efficiency, this strategy aims at channeling computing resources from the east to west.

Reliable data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology suggests there were more than 5.9 million standard data center racks and nearly 20 million servers as of June 2022. Meanwhile, computational potential has eclipsed the 150 EFLOPS echelon. Yet, the thriving sphere of AI applications necessitates high-power servers, potentially escalating power consumption. A green initiative has thus been put into play to address augmentation in power use and to resonate with the twin aims of the “dual carbon” goals.

Enter the Hohhot data center by China Mobile, one of eight critical data center clumps and part of a nationwide hub. This data center, constructed with Huawei, is a fitting response to the east-west computational flow and harmonizes the pursuit for eco-friendliness and adherence to the national “dual carbon” objectives.

Bringing into the equation innovative energy-saving technologies such as large-scale cold plate liquid cooling and AI-powered energy-saving optimization, this groundbreaking project strives towards carbon reduction. Several pioneering technologies have been set into motion, such as integrated energy cabinets and hydrogen energy storage, successfully managing to reduce the comprehensive PUE below 1.15. The efforts have yielded impressive savings equivalent to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 17,000 tons, thereby making this data center a beacon in sustainable, low-carbon operations.

China Mobile, in recent times, has been a frontrunner in implementing the low-carbon development strategy. In the 2022 green data centers evaluation, the Hohhot data center gained recognition for leading in Low-Carbon and Zero-Carbon Operations, notwithstanding consuming a significant 527 million kWh of green energy between 2019 and 2022.

Embracing the “dual carbon” strategy in building green data centers not only helps China Mobile fulfill a mission but also becomes essential for business operation. The company is said to be developing a comprehensive technology system for green data centers. Development in this sphere requires not only collaborative and intelligent solutions in the industry but also to construct new computational power infrastructure focusing on safety, reliability, eco-efficiency, and value leadership.

In essence, the need for data centers to turn eco-friendly rings more important than ever and aligns with the “dual carbon” goals. And so, as China Mobile collaborates with Huawei and other industry partners, a green wave is slowly but surely flooding the arena of data centers, bringing forth value and efficiency amidst maintaining sustainability.

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