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Nautilus Data Technologies to build $300m data centre in Maine

Development will take over former paper factory and will consume zero drinking water, use zero greenhouse gas refrigerants or chemicals, produce zero wastewater, make no noise, and cause no harm to fish or wildlife.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

4 Mins

June 05, 2021 | 9:01 AM BST

Nautilus Data Technologies has unveiled plans to build a US$300 million data centre in Millinocket, Maine, a rural area designated as a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

The 13-acre, 60MW facility has been engineered to become one of the greenest facilities in the world, the company, known for its environmentally friendly technology, has claimed.

Nautilus will use its patented water-cooling systems and 100% hydroelectric power both to support conventional computing and unleash the availability of high-performance computing with dramatically improved energy, water, and environmental performance.

The first phase of the project is expected to be commissioned and operating by late 2022.

Millinocket is one of seven Qualified Opportunity Zones in Penobscot County that provide federal tax advantages to attract investments into economically distressed communities.

The town is the former home of the Great Northern Paper Company, which began producing paper in 1902 and at its peak was the world’s largest newsprint producer.

Nautilus will be the first tenant on the site of the former mill since it closed in 2008, launching a new beginning for the region.

Maine’s Governor Janet Mills, said: “With the help of Nautilus, Maine is demonstrating that we can be a global leader in building pioneering digital technologies that will create jobs and strengthen our economy in an environmentally-sustainable way.

“This significant investment and new facility mark another important step forward in the revitalization of the former mill site and are further proof that sustainable innovation can power long-term economic growth in rural Maine.”

US Senator Susan Collins, added: “Nautilus’ new facility will establish Maine as an international leader in environmentally sustainable data storage technology and lay the foundation for future economic growth.

“By breathing new life into the site of the former Great Northern Paper mill, this substantial investment will help catalyse the creation of much-needed jobs in the region, attract other innovative companies, and strengthen the community.”

The Millinocket Data Center will use 70% less power than a traditional data centre would use for cooling and will provide 30+% net reduction in energy-related CO2 emissions and air pollution.

The site will consume zero drinking water, use zero greenhouse gas refrigerants or chemicals, produce zero wastewater, make no noise, and cause no harm to fish or wildlife.

Combined with the use of 100% hydroelectric power, the Millinocket Data Center will be the greenest data center globally.

Al Puchala, CEO of CapZone Impact Investments, said: “The Millinocket data centre will repurpose the infrastructure of a closed paper mill to provide businesses in the Northeast with an unrivalled high- performance data centre for mission-critical applications. CapZone is honored to be the Opportunity Zone finance partner to support Nautilus’ acceleration both in the US and overseas.”

Taking advantage of two fibre routes of Maine’s “Three Ring Binder” fiber-optic network, Nautilus will connect the site to major commercial and digital hubs including New York, Chicago, Ireland, and London.

Nautilus and site owner Our Katahdin executed a 99-year lease that allows engineering, permitting, site development, and project financing to immediately begin.

James Connaughton, CEO of Nautilus, commented: “Nautilus is leading the way to a new level of technical and environmental performance in our increasingly data-dependent world.

“Our advances in digital infrastructure will help deliver outcomes that enhance people’s lives by accelerating social welfare, improving the environment, and closing the digital divide.”

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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