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BMW Group signs HPC and hosting deal with hydro-powered Swedish datacentre operator

BMW Group inks deal with green datacentre operator in Sweden

Motor manufacturer BMW Group has reinforced its commitment to using sustainable datacentre resources to underpin the design of its cars, after signing a deal with Sweden-based operator Fortlax.

The deal will see BMW make use of Fortlax’s facility to host its high-performance computing clusters, which the firm uses to run simulations and big data analytics projects. The results are then used by the company to inform the design of its cars.

Fortlax CEO Anders Berglund said the deal was a major coup for the firm, and should inspire confidence in other firms to follow the car maker’s lead.

“Securing a partner with such high standards for quality and security is an important milestone in our long-term development as a company. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our entire business region and for our local community,” said Berglund.

The datacentre runs on 100% renewable hydro power. It is situated in The Node Pole region of Sweden, which is already home to 10 facilities operated by the likes of Facebook, Hydro66 and KnCMiner.

The area is popular with datacentre operators as the location means they are able to draw on the area’s renewable energy supplies to power their facilities. This allows datacentre operators to benefit from its naturally cold climate to regulate the temperature of their sites.

Read more about datacentre energy efficiency

The Fortlax site is currently used by more than 400 companies – including government authorities and the European energy supplier E.ON, with Berglund citing the German market as a good source of leads for the firm.

This is perhaps unsurprising, given the country is renowned for offering tax breaks to companies that embark on sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives.

“We have noticed a great increase in the number of inquiries – particularly from the German market, where energy is scarce and where costs are up to three times as much as what we can offer. In this light, I think today’s news is a premonition of further things to come,” Berglund added.

BMW previously embarked on a similar hosting deal with Icelandic datacentre operator Verne Global during the development of its electric-powered i3 and i8 cars. This was mooted at the time as part of a wider push by BMW to keep the environmental effect of the vehicles’ creation as small as possible.

Computer Weekly contacted BMW to find out if the Fortlax deal will supersede the company’s contract with Verne Global, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

However, a spokesperson for Verne Global told Computer Weekly: “BMW’s installation of high-performance computing clusters at the Verne Global campus continues as previously mentioned.”

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