Kyocera Communication Systems plans to build a data center solely powered by wind, solar and biomass in Ishikari City, Hokkaido, Japan.

Construction on the “zero-emission” data center is due to start later this month, with the facility set to be ready for operation in 2021. But, the site will only start running on renewable energy from 2022.

KCCS is a telecoms engineering and ICT business that owns equipment design technologies related to energy saving and storage.

Sapporo ice sculpture
Ice sculptures in Sapporo, Hokkaido – SteFou! Flickr

Summer snow

The site will be connected by a private powerline to nearby solar and wind power plants installed by KCCS. Both power plants will each provide 2MW of power to the data center.

KCCS has also partnered with a nearby biomass plant to supply the facility with sustainably-derived electricity.

Hokkaido temperatures regularly reach below 30°F (-1°C) during the winter, allowing the data center to be cooled by ambient air during these months. At the same time, snow will be collected and stored to provide cooling in warmer summer months.

This is not the first time we have heard of snow being stored to be used for cooling in the summer. In 2016, a research project was launched in Bibai, Hokkaido that heaped mounds of snow covered with an insulating material over a heat exchanger to cool a data center.

This method allowed the data center to be kept at 77°F (25°C) without the need for electric air cooling.

Ishikari City agreed to partner with KCCS on the project on March 26, in the Ishikari Bay New Port industrial park. The park has a “100 percent renewable energy area” commitment which requires all companies who build in the area to power their facilities with renewable energy.