BMW, the German car maker, is to move some of its high-performance computing capabilities to data centre in Iceland, in a bid to reduce its carbon emissions.
The data centre, operated by Verne Global, is located in a disused NATO command centre in Keflavik, in southwest Iceland. It draws its electricity from a nearby geothermal power plant and uses Iceland’s cold air to keep temperatures down. Verne Global claims that it is the world’s first "zero carbon" data centre.
By moving ten HPC clusters into the data centre, BMW hopes to cut annual carbon emissions by 3,570 metrics tons, and the cost of its HPC operations by up to 82%.
BMW uses HPC for such applications as crash simulations, aerodynamic calculations and computer aided design.
Verne Global argues that its data centre services offer Iceland, a country replete with renewable energy sources, a way to ‘export’ it’s natural attributes. "Data centres are an extremely efficient way to ship the cheap power out of Iceland," he told Information Age last year.
The Keflavik data centre was built using modular components from Colt, built in the UK and then shipped to Iceland for installation.
In the wake of the financial crisis, in which Iceland’s economy was hit especially hard, the country sought to strenghten its information-related laws in order to protect journalists and their sources.
Launched in 2010, the Modern Media Initiative aimed to make make the country "an attractive environment for the registration and operation of international press organisations, new media start-ups, human rights groups and Internet data centres", although it has yet to be made into law.