A Hamburg-based investment company, Aquila Capital, has created AQ Compute, a data center division.

Aquila is also investing an undisclosed amount into a Norwegian data center development which it says will be critical to the long-term strategy of AQ Compute.

Norway Fjord
The German company chose Norway due to its renewable infrastructure – Thinkstock / sisco11

Spreading its wings

Construction on the Norwegian facility will begin this year near Oslo and will be created with Cloud&Heat Technologies, a German IT company which makes modular liquid cooled facilities.

5MW of capacity will be installed by the end of 2021, and the facility could ultimately cover ​​20,000 sq m (215,000 sq ft), and host a capacity of around 10MW. Aquilla says the facility will focus on high-performance computing (HPC) applications such as AI, machine learning, or graphic calculations.

Aquila says the facility could feature a hybrid cooling system of water and air cooling as required by clients, and it expects its power usage effectiveness (PUE) to be between 1.07 and 1.2.

Roman Rosslenbroich, CEO and co-founder of Aquila Capital, said: “The project fits seamlessly into Aquila Capital's sustainable investment strategy: The global demand for new technologies based on energy-intensive IT applications is increasing continuously. That is why more and more climate-damaging greenhouse gases are being emitted. With sustainable and, above all, energy-efficient data centers, we make a decisive contribution to reducing global CO 2 emissions. At the same time, the growing data center market offers investors an attractive investment environment with sustainable potential for returns."

Since 2012, Aquila Capital has been developing sustainable, energy-efficient real estate and logistic projects such as wind farms and river dams. Now that it is making its first jaunt into the data center industry the company has a network of assets to support its new venture.

The data center will use renewable energy contracts from local hydropower plants in-country. Aqila itself owns around 100 such plants in Norway, and chose Norway because of the state’s long history with renewable energy.

The country has low energy costs, 98 percent of its infrastructure is run off renewable energy sources, and “optimal conditions” for the operation of data centers. Due to the cool climate, data centers can use ambient air to cool its servers. It also doesn’t hurt that the Norwegian government provides data center companies with tax breaks.