Knowing what blockchain really is, behind the hype, is the best way to understand it’s role and potential impact.
High Performance Computing, Blockchain, Flare Gas, Renewables… What does it all mean? This page gives you a brief overview.
Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things on the one hand, and the need for trust, transparency and security on the other, lays the ground for the accelerating development of HPC and blockchain computing needs. Those new technologies are about to change how business and economies work – from financial services, property and insurance, to government, healthcare, energy and education.
HPC, short for High Performance Computing, is the use of supercomputers and parallel computing techniques to solve complex computational problems, typically in science, engineering or business. HPC requires an electricity-intensive infrastructure, and data center operators providing HPC services need to have correlating capacities in place.
Though it’s a relatively young asset class, investor interest in data centers are growing rapidly due to global demand for faster connectivity and data storage. Data centers’ increased potential to earn higher returns in key markets compared to other real estate acquisitions, is moving this asset class toward mainstream status.
Data centers no longer have to be located near their clients but can be located in countries where clean energy is abundant and cheap as long as connectivity is safe and fast
A mining data center is primarily hosting servers that are mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Mining facilities requires a lot of electricity and are normally classified as T1 or T2 facilities.
The data center industry service is traditionally classified by 4 ‘Tiers’ which sets consistent facility requirements for power, cooling and resiliency that measure a data center’s potential uptime as follows:
Tier 1 – Customers who use a Tier 1 Data Center generally are not dependent on real time delivery of their product or service. Companies who need a dedicated infrastructure solution beyond installing a server in their office for storing data could use a Tier 1 level data center. Blockchains’ cryptocurrencies applications is a good example of T1 operations.
Tier 2 – Companies who need access to their data without downtime could use a Tier 2 level data center. Infrastructure includes Tier I capabilities with redundant components for power and cooling, which may include backup UPS battery systems, chillers, generators and pumps.
Tier 3 – Companies for whom delivery of their product or service in real time is critical to their operations, such as media providers, content providers, financial companies, commerce or the healthcare industry will utilize a Tier 3 level data center provider.
Tier 4 – is adding another layer of fault tolerance. Power, cooling and storage are all independently dual-powered. The topography of the infrastructure allows one fault anywhere in the system without disruption to service and the least downtime. For enterprises that must stay active 24/7, a Tier 4 data center is ideal.
Earth Wind & Power offers solutions where different pods can be made available with different tier levels, and there is no necessity to consider the whole site as one or the other Tier level. This enables maximum flexibility to respond to the ever-changing market need.
Blockchain is a time-stamped, cryptographically bound series of immutable records of data that is managed by a cluster of computers. Blockchain technology have emerged from cryptocurrencies, but today it’s disrupting business models all over the world, from supply chain to retail and healthcare. Lately Coronavirus Clearance Certificates has been developed based on blockchain technology. By providing transparency, security and trust in transactions. Blockchain is an enabling technology that can solve problems affecting a wide specter of organizations.
According to Fortune Business Insights the global blockchain market size was USD 2.01B in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 69.04B by 2027 with a CARG of 56.1 in the forecasted period. Gartner forecasts that blockchain will generate an annual business value of more than US $3 trillion by 2030. It’s possible that 10% to 20% of the global economic infrastructure will be running on blockchain-based systems by that same year.
The biggest challenge is the power intensive requirement of the HPC datacenter hosts. In mining operations, the electricity is normally representing about 60-70% of the operational costs. The high energy consumption required in blockchain operations could be problematic if it´s straining the grid or is increasing the use of fossil energy. Earth Wind and Power’s solutions have neither of these consequences.
By taking advantage of excess energy from excess energy from flare gas, wind, solar power, hydro, geothermal and other sources, HPC and blockchain computing don’t take any capacity from the grid. Instead, it could be a crucial factor for new renewable initiatives, for example in areas where electricity grids are unreliable or nonexistent. Add this to the way we are capturing and utilizing the flare from gas that elsewhere would be released into open air, and one can argue that HPC can reduce fossil emissions and contribute to a greener world.
The number of sites that flare gas due to lack of market access, is huge. World Bank Global Gas Flaring Tracker estimates that around 150 billion m3 gas is flared each year. From wind and solar plants, it’s difficult to estimate exact numbers. Electricity, when generated from wind and solar, must be used instantaneously. With our HPC and blockchain operations, we can help the providers balancing capacity and demand for the best of all parties.
Artificial Intelligence – AI and Machine Learning (ML) is a technological aspect which is moving into mainstream for many industries. It basically requires processing of large amounts of historical data to learn behavioral or consumption patterns etc enabling industries to better fit their product to human behavior, and/or to better plan demand for their products and services.
IOT – Internet of Things – a giant global network connecting web-enabled things, such as kitchen applicants, cars etc. The number of connected devices is forecasted to triple in the next five years. As more data will be generated there will be a correspondent growth in demand for storage and data processing capacities.
5G Projects – Next generation of wireless networking which will have great effects on datacenter activities, especially IOT related. 5G can generally support hundred times more associated devices and thousand times more data volume with 10 times lower latency. It is expected to hasten the general global trend of digitalization.
A general trend which influences the increased demand for data center services globally is the subcontracting of enterprise data center needs. Gartner predicted that by 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will migrate entirely away from on-premises data centers with the current trend of moving workloads to colocation-hosting and the cloud, leading them to shut down their traditional in-house centers.
The energy of flare gas is often released into the environment with no additional value. This power is often not utilized because of limited interconnection to grids and low energy demand on site. If this excess energy is captured it can be used as power for local HPC operations.
Wind farms generate more energy than is consumed at different daytimes and seasons. In emerging markets, the power is often underutilized depending on nearby operations and limited interconnection to grids. This excess energy can be used as emission-free power for local HPC operations.
Solar farms generate more energy from mid-morning to the afternoon, when the sun is at its strongest in the north sky at midday. These peak sun hours are often underutilized depending on nearby operations and limited interconnection to grids. This excess energy can be used as emission-free power for local HPC operations.
Hydro powerplants are often underutilized. Turning excess hydro energy into computing power can subsidise the infrastructure as well as create a stable demand for the power company by generating new income streams.
Geothermal power plants often offer higher potential capacity than what is utilized. Infrastructure is often not further developed or delayed because of lack of off-takers for the additional capacity or lack of connection to the grid. By positioning data centre containers directly at the site, EWP can create value prior to the otherwise needed grid connection.