At first glance, you wouldn’t think it is real. You might think it’s a typing error. But it’s not. Located 140 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the Kolos Data Center is incredible 600,000 square meters (6,450,000 SF) in area. The world’s largest data center, powered by 100% renewable energy, will be constructed in Ballangen, Norway. The opening is planned in 2018 after construction completion by Kolos, a Norwegian and American company with branch offices in Europe and America.
Energy Demand of Norwegian Data Center Kolos 5 to 10 Times Higher Than the Largest Data Centers on Earth
There are plenty examples out there for data centers consuming the same quantity of energy like a small town. When it comes to the quantity, this project is not better. But in case of the mode of generation, Kolos Data Center is completely different. A nearby hydroelectric power station will power the gigantic Norwegian data center with its servers consuming more than 1 gigawatt.
The World’s Most Energy-Hungry Green Building?
Is a Green Building out there with a higher energy demand? According to co-CEO Robinson, there is even room for growth. Up to two gigawatts are possible – renewable of course. In order to get a better feeling: To date, the largest data centers in the world consume 0.1 to 0.2 gigawatts. In comparison, even the recently praised data center from Stockholm Data Parks with a megawatt demand in the double-digits appears like an ant. And even this is not powered with 100% renewable electricity. Kolos Data Center is connected to the US east coast and Europe, via Sweden, through a high-performance fiber.
“We analyzed locations around the world and identified Ballangen as unique, due to Norway’s competitive green energy, the country’s cool climate and its large technical workforce, as well as access to international high-performance fiber and the site’s secure moated property,” points out co-CEO of Kolos, Havard Lillebo.
Thanks to the architecture and engineering firm HDR Inc., the optical appearance of this exceptionally sustainable data center reminds to a moving glacier. This is quite consistent with this cold area. But as you might expect, there is more to it than optical appearance. The geographic location with its cool temperatures is a decisive factor due to the commonly high cooling demands for data centers. The arctic weather conditions in Ballangen are ideal. The low outdoor air temperature and the cold mountain massive function as a natural cooling resulting in comparable low energy consumption. Also because of this fact, the energy costs can be reduced by about 60%.
Norwegian Data Center From Kolos
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“It’s an honor to be part of such a visionary project. Kolos has a deep appreciation for design thinking and the power of design to transform the data center sector,” said HDR’s President of Architecture Doug Wignall. “With this project, they are making a strong statement that in addition to being highly sustainable and technically sophisticated, data centers can also be inspiring pieces of art that are integrated with the community and natural surroundings.”
“Our objective was to integrate the community, surrounding natural beauty, sustainability, performance, security and scalability into the design,” said Kevin LeMans, Principal at HDR Inc.