‘Remove all fossil fuels from campus’ – Hydrotreated vegetable oil could hold answer to speeding sustainability race in data centres

Renewable diesel alternative ailed as a gateway for the industry to take a “beneficial step forward for the good of the environment” ahead of COP26.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

July 22, 2021 | 12:00 AM BST

UK colocation operator Kao Data said it has become the country’s first data centre to transition all backup generators to HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) fuel.

HVO is a second-generation, advanced renewable diesel alternative. Synthesised from vegetable oils using a specialist hydrotreatment process, HVO has been designed to combat the performance inadequacies of earlier biofuels. It offers improved burning efficiency, delivering the same level of resilience as traditional fossil fuels.

Kao Data will replace an initial 45,000 litres of diesel and switch to an HVO provision of more than 750,000 litres when the campus is fully developed. HVO requires no modification to existing infrastructure and can be used as a direct replacement for diesel.

To make the transition at its Harlow campus, the provider partnered with Crown Oil, in a move that will eliminate up to 90% of net CO2 from backup generators and reduce nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and carbon monoxide emissions.

Kao Data’s colocation data centre campuses use 100% renewable energy, utilising 100% refrigerant-free indirect evaporative cooling technologies, and incorporating hyperscale inspired design to deliver a PUE of <1.2.

In line with its commitments as a signatory of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact (CNDCP), the use of Crown Oil HVO fuel marks a “significant step” in the company’s plans to become a fully carbon neutral data centre operator by 2030.

Simon Lawford, Technical Sales Manager, Crown Oil, said: “HVO fuel is dramatically better for the environment compared to traditional, mineral diesels. It is 100% renewable, biodegradable, sustainable and non-toxic. “

Gérard Thibault, Chief Technology Officer at Kao Data, added: “This move effectively eliminates fossil fuels from our data centre operations, and helps us reduce Scope 3 emissions in our customers’ supply chain, while delivering no degradation to the service they receive.

“Most importantly, it shows how our industry can take a simple and highly beneficial step forward for the good of the environment, ahead of COP26.”


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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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