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£2bn Zero Carbon Delivery Framework goes live to help public sector datacentres go green

A four-year, £2bn procurement framework geared towards helping public sector organisations decarbonise their operations has gone-live

A £2bn procurement framework has gone live that will offer public sector datacentre operators access to technologies that will assist with the decarbonisation of their server farms.

The Zero Carbon Delivery Framework, which went live in January 2021, is set to run for four years and is being managed by a subsidiary of the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust known as Essentia Trading Ltd (ETL).

Its aim is to provide UK public sector bodies with access to low-carbon and zero-carbon technology and infrastructure investments from 27 different suppliers, whose offerings are divided up across four Lots.

The first “all-encompassing technologies” Lot is valued at £750m, and is a general purpose category that includes suppliers who can “provide a holistic solution for participating authorities through the provision of a variety of low/zero-carbon technologies,” the Framework tender document stated.

Lot 2 is valued at £500m and includes suppliers of heating and renewable energy technologies, while the £250m third Lot contains providers focused on “utility metering and submetering technologies”.

The fourth and final Lot is concentrated on providing framework participants with access to building management system technologies that will enable them to manage the mechanical and electrical services within their buildings.   

The framework is aligned with the government’s push to curb the amount of carbon emissions generated by consumers and businesses, which saw it pass legislation in June 2019 to encourage organisations to cut their UK net greenhouse gas emissions by 100% relative to 1990 levels by 2050.

In further support of this aim, the framework will also be open for private sector organisations to use, with IT buyers encouraged to either run mini competitions through it or to directly engage with suppliers whose technologies are listed within its Lots.

“ETL’s Zero Carbon Delivery framework helps remove complexity and provides a faster route to market for technologies that will help meet sustainability goals,” said Alexandra Hammond, sustainability director at ETL, in a statement.

Among the 27 suppliers to have secured a place on the framework is Texas-based datacentre immersion cooling system manufacturer, Green Revolution Cooling (GRC), which is in the throes of building out a UK presence for itself.

This work has already seen the firm create a UK-based GRC subsidiary, but the company plans to open a demonstration centre within an unnamed London datacentre in the coming months where it can showcase its liquid immersion technology and allow framework participants to test out its technology.

Sales and deployment of its technology through the framework will be facilitated by its partner, European Agent Total Data Centre Solutions (TDCS) , the company confirmed, which is credited by GRC in helping it secure a place on the framework in the first place.

As it stands, GRC is the only purveyor of immersion cooling technologies to make it onto the framework, and Brian Clavin, director of TDCS, said securing a place was not without its challenges.

“It was a challenge to introduce the concept of immersion cooling to the ETL team and then very rewarding when they agreed to let GRC bid for a place as a trusted supplier on the framework. It was then a fantastic team achievement,” he said.

“Providing liquid immersion cooling for datacentre IT equipment reduces an organisation’s carbon footprint, and significantly reduces IT operating expenses, while increasing IT capacity.”

Peter Poulin, CEO of GRC, added: “GRC’s participation in this initiative will allow datacentre operators across the UK to increase energy efficiency, while also cutting their operating costs – it’s a win-win.”

GRC specialises in the provision of micro-modular immersion-cooling systems that can be deployed in existing sites or new-build datacentres, with the company’s chief revenue officer, Jim Weynand, claiming its technology should prove to be a good fit for public sector server farms.

This is particularly true for organisations which might be considering a move to the public cloud in due course, but need to revamp their existing datacentre estate to make it more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, he added.

“There is an acknowledged reticence to migrate wholesale to the public cloud. Independent of ongoing efforts to eliminate information silos and maintain security, immersion cooling allows for the painless transition of existing datacentres from legacy, wasteful air-cooled infrastructure,” he said.  

“Whether the datacentre is owned or managed elsewhere, immersion cooling can be quickly implemented to revamp existing legacy technologies while immediately decreasing environmental impact, decreasing operational costs and increasing the life span of its investments.”

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