UAE data center firm Khazna is to adopt biofuel to power its backup generators.

At the GITEX event this week, the company announced it would be conducting a pilot project by the end of 2023.

Khazna data center
– Khazna

Hassan Alnaqbi, CEO at Khazna Data Centres, said: "Our role as an industry leader is to look at viable options to make our data centers more sustainable. Today’s announcement is therefore an important step in this direction as we continue our journey on this transformational path by switching to biofuel for our generators.”

He continued: “We expect notable reductions in carbon emissions as a result of this strategy adjustment, which perfectly complements Khazna’s goal of establishing high standards for environmental responsibility within the data center sector without compromising on operational reliance and efficiency.”

The pilot's first stage will involve blending biofuel with traditional diesel fuel and monitoring performance. After that, Khazna intends to implement biofuel across all of its data centers.

While the company didn’t say specifically, Khazna is likely looking to use hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). HVO is a low-emission biofuel that promises high performance without the need to replace or customize diesel gen-sets. It is a drop-in fuel that can be blended with fossil fuel diesel as required.

A growing number of companies are looking to diesel alternatives as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and green their backup operations.

Amazon has adopted the fuel in Ireland and Sweden. UK operators Kao, DataVita, and Datum, the US' Compass, as well as Belgium's LCL, and Latvia’s DEAC, are adopting HVO as fuel for their backup generators.

Digital Realty's French unit has also adopted HVO for its new PAR8 site in Paris as well as in Madrid, Spain, and plans to expand its use across the continent in the near future. Pure and Vantage are also HVO users, while Equinix has said it is doing a trial with the fuel.

Kohler has swapped diesel for HVO at its Brest generator manufacturing plant in France, totaling some 325,000 liters.

Made from made from vegetable oils or waste, most HVO production is centered in Europe or the US. Khazna is seemingly the first operator in the Middle East to announce the adoption of HVO.

Khazna currently operates nine data center sites across the UEA, with six more under development. The number of facilities under the company significantly increased after the merger with G42 and Etisalat Group, first announced in October 2021. The merger between the three made Khazna the UAE’s largest data center provider. The company is also developing a facility in Cairo, Egypt.