LSBU research project, CEDaCI, wins Interreg funding
23 April 2019
LSBU-led project, the Circular Economy for the Data Centre Industry (CEDaCI), headed by Deborah Andrews, Associate Professor of Design at LSBU, has been awared €1,91 million (approximately £1,6), in Interreg funding. Interreg is an part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and awards funds and support to cross-border projects in fields such as health, environment, research, education, transport and sustainable energy.
The CEDaCI project aims to make data centres more sustainable, as the current life cycle for data centre equipment is 1,5 years, with only ten percent of critical raw materials from the sector being recycled and recovered. The goal is to extend product life through equipment reuse, as well as increase reclamation of what are considered Critical Raw Materials, reduce the use of virgin materials and waste, and minimise environmental impact.
Having received the funding, Deborah and the team are now working on a comprehensive situational analysis of the sector in Northwestern Europe. They will then facilitate workshops and pilots to develop and improve the design of equipment, as well as recycling processes and strategies.
The established team is interdisciplinary and consists of a complex network of experts and partners: data centre operators and consultants, equipment designers and manufacturers, reuse and re-manufacturers, metals recycling and reclamation companies, experts in consumer and end-user behaviour, as well as policy developers and influencers.
CEDaCI relies on ongoing participation across the data centre sector in Europe, in order for the required knowledge and experience to be leveraged.
“The project’s success and the future of the sector are dependent on the various actors coming together to develop a dedicated bespoke Circular Economy,” Deborah explains. “But at the moment members of the various sub-sectors do not converse.
“We want to reach out to as many businesses as possible and invite them to participate in the project network. If we act now, we can mitigate and avoid future problems for the sector, and also take advantage of associated business opportunities.”
A data centre is any building, group of buildings or dedicated space which houses information technology, data processing and storage equipment. There are currently 8.6 million data centres around the world, with the industry predicted to grow an astounding 500% by 2030. It’s a sector which demands uninterrupted customer service, whether in co-location facilities (where customers deploy their own servers, networks and storage hardware) or in the huge hyperscalers (company-owned facilities) constructed by companies such as Facebook and Google.