A project to make data centres more efficient by using fibre-optic cables as heat sensors has been awarded a grant of nearly £1 million by the UK government.
The project is led by Cambridge start-up Alquist. The company's Celsius technology uses "specially adapted lasers [to] convert fibre-optic cables into high precision temperature sensors, detecting minute real time changes every metre along their length", it claims.
This allows companies to build "real time" temperature maps of their data centres, Alquist claims, and therefore potentially improve their energy use as a result.
"Through improved energy usage, mid-size data centres can target 10% to 30% reduction in electricity bills, and reduce carbon emissions by up to 2,000 tonnes per annum," the company says.
The investment, which comes from the government's Technology Strategy Board, will help Alquist develop the technology and conduct proof-of-concept projects at two London data centres, operated by Verizon and Schneider Electric.
It is part of a £10 million programme, called “Invest in Innovation Refurbishment”, designed to encourage the development and use of innovative energy efficient technologies for buildings.
According to figures from analyst company Pike Research, the global market for green data centres will surpass £28 billion by 2016 as rising energy costs, economic pressures and stricter regulations on carbon emissions force IT leaders to make their server farms more energy-efficient.