How Tech Giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft are leading the world to a sustainable future
Big Tech behemoths are actively participating in greener initiatives recently. And every action and project undertaken to reverse the effects of climate change brings us closer to a sustainable future. This is quintessentially why measures for renewable energy, better energy-saving action plans will continue to be at the forefront of conversations going into 2021.
For instance, Google recently announced its plans to make its data centers more renewable. Google will be using batteries to power the data center in Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, during power outages. Generally, data centers require huge energy for storing data and relaying them when needed by their clients, and for cooling the storage units. In case of a power outage, Google’s data centers use diesel for power backup. Though it is a cheaper alternative, it costs heavy damage to the environment.
According to Google, batteries are better and greener alternatives to diesel and other fossil fuels diesel, and more efficient as well. Google plans to depend on batteries, for the Saint-Ghislain data center, during sudden high power requirements, as well. However, this transition will be gradual, i.e., the data center will keep the diesel generators running alongside the battery grid, till experts believe the battery setup is strong enough to run independently. By the third quarter of 2021, the Saint-Ghislain data center will be outfitted with a lithium-ion battery system that can supply three megawatts of power over two hours.
A few weeks ago, Google, along with companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Equinix, NTT, Aruba, and Scaleway – companies associated with the cloud and data center industry formed the European-based Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact in a self-regulatory move to make data centers across that continent climate neutral by 2030. The pact focuses on achieving targets like the purchasing of carbon-free energy, water conservation, reuse and repair of servers, and heat recycling. These targets in the agreement were developed in cooperation with the European Commission (EC) to support the European Green Deal. The European Green Deal is focused on making Europe climate neutral by 2050, and the European Data Strategy, which is focused on making data centers climate neutral by 2030.
Data centers are not the only culprits contributing to climate change. The contrail clouds generated by an aircraft cruising above 26,000 feet is also responsible for global warming. These contrail clouds trap heated air in the Earth’s atmosphere which factors for around 60% of the aviation industry’s total climate impact.
Microsoft’s public cloud platform Azure, is helping Cambridge startup, SATAVIA, to reduce the aviation industry’s impact on the environment. The startup is developing an artificial intelligence-based platform called DECISIONX, enabling airline operators to use smarter flight planning to minimize the contrail clouds generated by an aircraft in-flight. DECISIONX uses weather prediction modeling to generate a high-resolution replica of the Earth’s atmosphere over time, Including elements like atmospheric changes in heat, sunlight, moisture, pressure, temperature, humidity, clouds, wind speed and more. The data analysis from the platform will help users understand the factors that will influence the creation of a contrail cloud. As a result, aircraft operators can accurately forecast, avoid, validate, quantify and offset aviation contrail emissions by optimizing flight plans.