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STT GDC accesses AI for Singapore data centre energy gains

STT GDC accesses AI for Singapore data centre energy gains

The objective of the pilot is to leverage AI and machine learning technology, as well as advanced analytics to optimise energy use within a data centre.

Data hall at one of STT GDC's data centre facilities.

Data hall at one of STT GDC's data centre facilities.

Credit: STT GDC

Singapore headquartered data centre operator ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) has struck a deal with ABB to conduct an artificial intelligence (AI) energy optimisation pilot in Singapore. 

ABB, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, is a global technology company that specialises in robotics, power, heavy electrical equipment and automation technology, among other areas. 

The objective of the pilot is to leverage AI and machine learning (ML) technology, as well as advanced analytics to optimise energy use within a data centre and reduce a facility’s overall carbon footprint.  

“STT GDC is excited to collaborate with ABB on this pilot as we transition our data centres to be net carbon-neutral by 2030,” said Daniel Pointon, STT GDC group chief technology officer. “Our group’s AI roadmap will take a big leap forward with this pilot program and focus on optimising our data centre’s energy utilisation.  

“During the review of the pilot results, we will also assess future AI-based applications such as predictive maintenance, capacity management, security analytics and other business processes in our considerations,” he added. 

While Singapore is STT GDC’s home country, the decision to carry out the pilot in the city-state is notable for another reason: the country’s strict regulations around the environmental impact of data centre construction and operation.  

Earlier this year, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing reiterated the government’s sustainability goals associated with energy and water-hungry data centre infrastructure in a written reply to a Parliamentary question on new data centres and published in February. 

“Singapore’s political stability and reliable infrastructure are conducive for operating DCs [data centres]. However, DCs are intensive users of water and electricity,” Chan said. “We will thus need to manage the DC ecosystem to ensure that it is environmentally sustainable while supporting our business needs. 

“We will strive for quality, not quantity – this means we seek to anchor a range of DCs that can meet both industry and society’s needs, are best in class in terms of resource efficiency and that continuously innovate to push the boundaries of resource efficiency of DCs in a tropical climate,” he added. 

It was back in 2019 when the government informed the industry that it had decided to moderate the growth of data centres with a temporary pause on the release of state land for new infrastructure, as well as the development of data centres on existing state land. 

While the move has complicated recent development plans to some degree, it has also caused data centre operators in the country to be mindful of their electricity consumption, with many providers building new facilities with top-of-the-line power efficiency measures.  

Evidently, STT GDC is hoping to take yet another step in the direction of increased efficiency, with the pilot aiming to achieve at least a 10 per cent reduction in energy usage by the data centre cooling systems which, according to the data centre operator, contribute most to the consumption of electrical power in a data centre, after customers' IT equipment. 

The pilot will span two phases over 12 months – an initial data exploration, modelling and validation phase, followed by deployment of AI control logic in a live data centre environment.  

It is hoped that optimising the cooling efficiency will, in turn, improve power usage effectiveness (PUE) and reduce the carbon footprint, with an estimated reduction of 1,100 tons of carbon in the atmosphere for every 10MW of IT load utilised. 

STT GDC claims its pilot is taking a holistic approach, developing AI neural-network models for the entire data centre cooling plant including the upstream chiller and distribution systems.  

The partnership with ABB will see STT GDC gain AI-generated insights, leveraging ABB’s Ability Genix for industrial analytics and AI. This is expected to help the data centre operator effectively track and analyse the data generated by monitoring systems in the data centre, as well as better facilitate dynamic cooling optimisation. 

“We look forward to supporting the STT GDC team in their efforts to drive digitalisation and energy efficiencies.” said Madhav Kalia, global head of data centre automation at ABB. “At ABB, we have a strong track record of supporting data centre operators with our best-in-class technology solutions.  

“We are committed to exploring the synergies between our offerings with STT GDC as it embarks on an ambitious plan,” he added. 

In early July, STT GDC officially launched its STT Loyang facility in Singapore, its largest facility in the country to date.  

In April, the company once again moved to expand its footprint in Singapore, kicking off construction of STT Defu 3, its newest data centre facility in the country.


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