As the foundation of digital economy, the data center industry is rapidly growing, satisfying a massive demand for computing power. Under the “dual carbon” goals (two major carbon reduction targets set by China), turning eco-friendly has become an essential path for existing data centers and a powerful tool to promote carbon reduction and efficiency improvement across society. Currently, the national project that channels computing resources from the east to the west has been fully launched, and data centers have entered a large-scale construction phase. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, by the end of June 2022, more than 5.9 million standard data center racks and about 20 million servers had been in use, and the total computing power had exceeded 150 EFLOPS. However, as global AI applications continue to evolve and innovate, high-power servers that support intelligent computing are expected to significantly increase energy consumption. In light of the “dual carbon” goals aimed at addressing climate change, a green campaign focusing on reducing power consumption across various industries has been initiated.

The Hohhot data center of China Mobile, an intelligent computing data center built in Inner Mongolia in collaboration with Huawei, is one of the eight key data center clusters that form part of the national hub. This initiative by China Mobile aligns with the strategic planning for the distribution of computing network resources, adheres to the eco-friendly policy, and follows the national “dual carbon” goals and project that channels computing resources from the east to the west. This data center is a versatile computing hub that integrates advanced technologies, a wide range of application scenarios, and green energy.

This project, in partnership with Huawei and its partners, has implemented a variety of innovative technologies for energy saving and carbon reduction. These include large-scale cold plate liquid cooling, integrated power modules, EHU indirect evaporative cooling combined with magnetic levitation air conditioning, photovoltaic power generation, AI-powered energy-saving optimization based on BestDC, and direct green power supply.

This project has piloted several cutting-edge technologies, including integrated energy cabinets and hydrogen energy storage, reducing the comprehensive PUE to below 1.15. The annual electricity consumption of buildings 7 and 9 alone has been cut by 30 million kWh, equivalent to planting 980,000 trees or reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 17,000 tons. As a result, this data center has become a benchmark in energy saving and low-carbon operations. Recognized by the National Development and Reform Commission as a national eco-friendly demonstration project for computing power networks, this project supports the national goals of energy conservation, emission reduction, and green electricity usage, contributing to the drive towards the carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals.

China Mobile: a Leader in Low-Carbon and Zero-Carbon Operations

In recent years, China Mobile has been implementing the eco-friendly development strategy. In the latest annual evaluation of green data centers for 2022, the Hohhot data center of China Mobile achieved the second place overall and was honored with the title of “Leader in Low-Carbon and Zero-Carbon Operations”. In the realm of green electricity usage, the Hohhot data center of China Mobile used a total of 527 million kWh of green energy from 2019 to 2022, achieving a green energy rate of 85%. Because of this, this data center has been recognized as a national green data center and a five-star data center of China Mobile.

Implementing the “Dual Carbon” Strategy and Building Green Data Centers

For China Mobile, the enormous demand for computing power represents a great opportunity. However, it also introduces new technical challenges such as computing power coordination, intelligent scheduling, data security, green and low-carbon operations, and the synergy between cloud, network, and edge. These challenges necessitate collaborative and innovative solutions across the industry chain. Duan Xiaodong, Vice President of the China Mobile Research Institute, expressed that practicing the “dual carbon” strategy and building green data centers are not only the mission for carriers but also a must choice for business operations. China Mobile is reportedly developing a comprehensive technology system for green, low-carbon data centers. By leveraging low-carbon technologies and digital, intelligent capabilities, it aims to devise efficient, eco-friendly, digital, intelligent, and streamlined solutions, and build new computing power infrastructure that prioritizes safety, reliability, eco-efficiency, and value leadership.

In alignment with China’s “dual carbon” goals, turning eco-friendly has become an inevitable choice for data centers. To construct a next-generation of data centers and lay the foundation for digital economy, China Mobile is working with Huawei and other industry stakeholders to stimulate vitality and promote the green and low-carbon development of data centers.