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Olga Fink Professor of Intelligent Maintenance and Operations Systems, EPFL Andrew Maynard Professor of Advanced Technology Transitions, Arizona State University While the Earth is indisputably facing a worsening as energy-proportional computing, in which environmental crisis, increasing reliance on data computers use energy proportional to the amount may not seem to play much of a role. Yet data of work being performed.63 centres, which facilitate Google searches, email, the metaverse, AI and myriad other aspects of Achieving net-zero-energy data centres will involve an increasingly data-based society, consume an innovative approaches to integrating the above 57 estimated 1% of the electricity produced globally, mentioned approaches with new electricity and this amount will only increase with growing generation, storage and management technologies. demand for data services. While there is no single Given the wave of innovation and investment in “green data” magic bullet, it is expected that this area, there is reason to be optimistic about the the coming decade will boast substantial strides years ahead. toward net-zero-energy data centres as emerging technologies are combined and integrated in innovative ways – rapidly making the dream of Impact net-zero-energy data centres an achievable reality. 昀椀ngerprint People First, to address heat-management issues, liquid cooling systems are being developed that use water or dielectric coolant to dissipate heat, and excess Planet heat is being repurposed for applications including Equity space heating, water heating and industrial processes. For instance, the city of Stockholm is implementing projects to harness waste heat from data centres to heat homes.58 Second, AI is being used to analyse and optimize energy use in real-time, maximizing ef昀椀ciency without compromising performance. DeepMind Prosperity has successfully demonstrated the potential of Industry AI-powered energy management, achieving up to a 40% reduction in energy consumption at Google’s data centres.59 Third, the technological infrastructure supporting Image: net-zero-energy data centres is becoming more Data centres, which Innovations in heat modular and demand-based. For instance, facilitate Google searches, management and energy cloud and edge computing systems allow data optimization can help processing and storage to be spread across email, the metaverse, AI data centres switch to 60,61 a more environmentally multiple devices, systems and even locations. and myriad other aspects friendly future. As an example, Crusoe Energy installs its modular of an increasingly data- Credit: Midjourney and data centres at sites where methane 昀氀aring Studio Miko. occurs to enable cloud computing infrastructure based society, consume Prompt (abbreviated): to be powered by methane gas that would an estimated 1% of the “Futuristic data centre otherwise have been released directly into the with nature inside and atmosphere. These and other prefabricated units electricity produced globally, surrounding”. can be easily deployed, expanded or relocated, making the dream of Read more: allowing data centre operators to optimize energy Discover expert analysis use and adapt to their companies’ changing net-zero-energy data centres related to sustainable needs. Additional innovations in software and an achievable reality. computing on the Strategic hardware include novel computing architectures 62 Intelligence Platform. like systems on a chip; and optimizations such Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 25

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