Tidal-powered datacenters: A sea of opportunity?

Scotland-based datacenter developer aims to run facilities on tidal power

Two companies are teaming up to build what could be the world's first tidal-powered datacenter, to be located in Scotland.

Singapore-based Atlantis Resources Corporation, which brings to the table tidal-turbine technology, has inked a partnership deal with Scotland-based datacenter developer Internet Villages International (IVI) to construct an energy-efficient "Blue Datacenter." The facility would connect to Atlantis' planned tidal-power arrays, according to BBC.

[ Learn about Google's vision of a floating datacenter, powered and cooled by the sea. ]

Atlantis envisions installing two 10MW tidal current turbines in the Pentland Firth, the stretch of water between the far north Scottish mainland and Orkney, according to BBC. Atlantis seeks to invite a third-party tidal-energy provider to build a third 10MW system at the site, thereby taking advantage of a planning loophole allowing the rapid connection of demonstration tidal turbines to the grid.

The arrays, planned to be online by 2011, would provide 30 of the 150 megawatts that IVI's datacenter would require. Should the project prove successful, Atlantis would pursue planning permission to additional arrays, expected to be up and running by 2013, according to New Energy Focus.

In fact, Atlantis plans for its arrays to generate more than enough power for the datacenter, according to vnunet.com; the excess would be sold back to the grid. The Pentland Firth's currents could generate 700 megawatts of electricity by 2020.

Per the alliance, Atlantis also seeks to provide tidal power to IVI's planned data-storage complex, called Alba 1, in Dumfries and Galloway. That power would come from new tidal-stream turbines off the southwest coast of Scotland, New Energy Focus reports.

Scotland's relatively low average temperatures and growing capacity of renewable energy make it an ideal location for green datacenters, according to Peter Hewkin, chairman of IVI.