- Bechtel has announced a collaboration with Nautilus Data Technologies to construct data centers that use 70% less power for cooling and don’t consume drinking water, according to a press release shared last week with Construction Dive.
- Nautilus' Total Resource Usage Effectiveness technology, a closed-water loop coolant system, will keep server racks cool, using less power than traditional air conditioning systems and leading to a 30% net reduction in energy-related carbon dioxide and air pollution, the release said.
- The initiative, the partners claim, will help lessen the environmental footprint of data centers and close the "digital divide" by making it easier to build data centers in cities, rural communities and developing areas.
Data centers have emerged as a vital part of the tech industry’s infrastructure, as giants like Google, Amazon and Apple depend on campuses to house and protect their servers, while keeping them cool. As a result, spaces like Ashburn, Virginia, which has become known as "data center alley," are attractive for their access to water which can be used in coolant systems.
Nautilus claims the system will use naturally cold water from rivers, lakes and bays and return the water to its source after use. Most data centers use evaporative cooling systems. Additionally, Nautilus says its system uses no refrigerants, chemicals or wastewater and does no harm to fish and wildlife.
In related environmental news, Bechtel is also partnering with Drax, a renewable energy company, to construct Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) plants globally, the contractor announced. Scaling BECCS plans will be critical to delivering Paris Agreement climate targets, Bechtel said. Drax is the largest decarbonization project in Europe.
Bechtel recently fell from the top spot in Engineering News-Record's Top 400 contractors list, a position it had held for two decades. Turner Construction took first place, and Bechtel ranked second.