by Oliver Fronk & Bernd Schenk, Architekt Schenk VFA, Frankfurt, Germany

The form chosen for the “Algenative Data Centre” is that of a consolidated inner-city situation, a high-rise.

The form chosen for the “Algenative Data Centre” is that of a consolidated inner-city situation, a high-rise.

Data centers are the backbone of our modern information society. Without secure data center infrastructures, not only would every economic circuit collapse, but public order would as well. However, data centers continue to be energy consumers that need enormous resources of fossil fuels supplied to them.

Our firm’s architectonic approach means that we can integrate an absolutely autonomous and high-availability data center into the middle of society. With the “Algaenative Data Centre” we are suggesting a new path. This unique design, combined with the full exploitation of all available energy sources, envisions transforming data centers from energy consumers into energy generators.

The Algaenative Data Centre will no longer be placed in dark halls, far away from its surroundings but, rather, right in the middle of things.

The data center has an IT surface area of 1000 m² plus space for the supply infrastructure, distributed over 2 storeys. Power consumption is 2,000 watt per square meter. It is located in the core of the building, in order to guarantee maximum construction physics protection. The data center is designed for high-availability operation around the clock. The racks are set up in cold aisle containment form, the warm expelled air is fed directly via an appended ceiling to a central supply shaft in the center of the building. This shaft serves to distribute heat energy from the various heat sources. Redundancy by additional gas pipes is guaranteed.

Photosynthesis takes place in algae panels on the external façade of the building

Photosynthesis takes place in algae panels on the external façade of the building

Two redundantly designed combined heat and power units (CHPUs) are at the center of the energy generation. The methane gas needed to operate the CHPUs is generated via Chlorella or Chlamydomonas algae. These are treated and enriched with CO2 from the combined heat and power unit (waste gases), in order then to produce methane gas during photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis takes place in algae panels on the external façade of the building and in large algae tanks in the basements, supported by wind-powered broadband spectrum LED lights. The produced biomass of algae is skimmed off, and can be used to produce numerous products.

Ideally the circle will complete itself: the energy required for the data center will be partly or, ideally, completely self-produced, waste products such as biomass and thermal energy will be fed back into the value added circuit. The data center operator is thereby no longer a pure consumer, but becomes a producing consumer, a prosumer.

The form chosen for the “Algenative Data Centre” is that of a consolidated inner-city situation, a high-rise. The opportunities to link the data center with other material and energy circuits, and thus the opportunities to develop from a consumer to a prosumer, are the most diverse here. Structural implementation can be realized via a new development, but also within the scope of renovating existing commercial real estate.

For details or more info, you can contact the authors at: www.schenk-architekt.de