Japanese group makes huge UT investment in data center energy efficiency

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University of Texas at Austin president Gregory Fenves on Tuesday announced a new partnership with a Japanese agency to boost the school's work in data center energy efficiency. Enlarge

Arnold Wells/ABJ

University of Texas at Austin president Gregory Fenves on Tuesday announced a new… more

A Japanese agency is investing $13 million in a new partnership with the University of Texas that will see the school begin using alternative energy sources to power its high-performance computers.

UT’s agreement with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO, will put the university at the forefront of the movement to promote efficiency in the data center industry, and will provide opportunities for students and researchers studying emerging energy systems.

NEDO will install efficient high-voltage direct current infrastructure, and install a solar energy farm at the UT Austin Texas Advanced Computing Center at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus in North Austin. The project also calls for the installation of $4 million of additional computing capability.

“This project is urgently needed,” UT Austin president Greg Fenves said in a statement. “We are ever more dependent on data, and at the same time, ever more conscious of the need to utilize all sources of energy. This important project helps meet those two great needs while engaging our students and faculty in groundbreaking research.”

Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos and NEDO Executive Director Fumio Ueda on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding relating to cooperation regarding energy efficiency at computer data centers in Texas, including the dissemination of HVDC Feeding Systems.

Also, Fenves and Atushi Ichihoshi, senior vice president of NTT Facilities Inc., signed an implementation agreement related to the project.