Google has opened its highly energy efficient data center, located in a former paper mill in Hamina, southern Finland. The new EUR 200 milllion facility uses an innovative sea water cooling system which requires very little electricity. According to Google, its servers use less energy per user in a month than a light bulb that has been left on for three hours.
Google acquired the Hamina paper mill site in 2009. According to Joe Kava, Google’s Senior Director of Datacenter Construction and Operations, his team has utilized the unique characteristics of the site in terms of its geography, existing infrastructure and climate to create a uniquely efficient cooling and power infrastructure for the data center.
“There is no compressor based or refrigeration based cooling here, it’s all natural seawater cooling. We take raw seawater directly from the Gulf of Finland, pump it through a seawater tunnel that was already built for the paper mill in the 1950s and run it through heat exchangers. Then we use direct exchange through those heat exchangers and dissipate the server load heat from the data center,” Kava explains in a video produced by Google about the Hamina project.
“Then we return that seawater through a tempering building where we take in fresh seawater and mix it with the outgoing warmer water so that when we return it back to the Gulf, it’s at a temperature that is much more similar to the inlet temperature. That way we minimize any environmental impact in that area,” he says.