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A floating data centre could soon be a reality in Singapore thanks to Keppel

Keppel wants to create one of the world’s most unique data centres, and it has signed two memorandum of understandings with transportation and logistics firms to make it a reality – a floating data centre. 

Both Toll Group, an Australian transportation and logistics company with operations in road, rail, sea, air and warehousing, and Royal Vopak, a Dutch multinational company that stores and handles various oil, chemicals, edible oils and natural gas-related products, have signed agreements with Keppel. 

Keppel Data Centres and Toll Group will explore the development of a near-shore floating data centre park at the Loyang Offshore Supply Base, which is operated by Toll Group. While, Royal Vopak will conduct a feasibility study and assess the commercial viability of establishing LNG and possibly hydrogen infrastructure for the power and cooling plants, which will form part of the floating data centre park’s development at Loyang Offshore Supply Base. The exploration of hydrogen infrastructure is part of Keppel Data Centres’ strategy to work towards the decarbonisation of its operations.

With the growing global demand for data centres, Keppel Data Centres’ floating data centre concept is designed to be both an environmentally friendly and resource-efficient way to meet the expanding needs of the digital economy. What’s more, the data centre frees up valuable land which could be used by other industries, especially important in locations where space is at a premium – such as Singapore. 

On the environmental front, Keppel says a floating data centre can utilise seawater for cooling and is much more energy efficient than conventional land-based data centres. It also avoids the use of potable or industrial water in cooling towers, which typically results in significant water loss through evaporation.  

The floating data centre park is envisaged to be the first-of-its-kind in Singapore, and is envisioned to optimise energy usage by integrating LNG and possibly hydrogen infrastructure for onsite power generation. This would also eliminate reliance on the national grid. Furthermore, the adjacent LNG and possibly hydrogen infrastructure will potentially allow the floating data centre to tap on cold energy generated from LNG regasification to supplement the cooling load.

Mr Wong Wai Meng, CEO, Keppel Data Centres, said, “We are pleased to have strong partners such as Toll Group and Royal Vopak join us in exploring the feasibility of establishing a FDCP (floating data centre park) and its adjacent infrastructure. We are also pleased to harness the diverse capabilities of the Keppel Group to explore the development of FDCPs as part of our suite of solutions for sustainable urbanisation. We see great potential in FDCPs as a commercially viable and attractive innovation that conserves land, water and energy, compared to traditional land-based data centres.

“Our FDCP concept will feature a modular design, which can be scaled up quickly according to customers’ demand. Fabrication of floating data centres can be done quickly and cost effectively in controlled environments such as Keppel Offshore & Marine’s yards and deployed in a ‘plug-and-play’ manner. This greatly reduces the construction-related carbon footprint of data centres, as well as the development costs and speed to market. Given the modular design, new floating data centre modules can be readily developed and deployed to replace the older ones, while the older floating data centre modules can be recycled for deployment in other locations, thus contributing to the circular economy.”

Mr Sam Eid, Executive Vice President – Global Logistics, Toll Group, added, “We’re excited about partnering with Keppel Data Centres to explore a sustainable innovative solution for data centre development. Our primary focus for the base remains to support the Oil, Gas, Industrial and Marine industries. This initiative will allow Toll Group to take a significant role to improve space productivity and sustainability in Singapore whilst driving our primary focus.”

Mr Kees van Seventer, President, Vopak LNG, concluded, “Our collaboration with Keppel Data Centres will allow us to leverage our global expertise and experience to develop resilient and efficient LNG infrastructure for power generation to feed the data centre development in Singapore. The partnership will also enable us to study the technical and commercial viability of hydrogen and its required infrastructure for power generation. With our presence of 37 years in Singapore, we are committed to grow our footprint with sustainable infrastructure solutions.”

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