Keppel bets on seaborne data centres

Keppel, the giant Singapore conglomerate involved in multiple industries from property through to telecoms and shipbuilding, has seen a possible new tech-driven avenue to help fill its dangerously empty drydocks.

Keppel Data Centres has invested $10m in Californian startup Nautilus Data Technologies, which aims to push data centres out to sea.

Nautilus tested its waterborne data center prototype back in 2015, and plans to launch its first commercial facility at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Northern California in 2018.

“This strategic investment in Nautilus will allow Keppel Data Centres to benefit from the development of innovative and sustainable data center technology that has great potential for broader commercial application,” Wong Wai Meng, CEO of Keppel Data Centres, said.

“Through this investment, we can also explore opportunities for collaboration and harnessing of synergies within the Keppel Group, for example, by tapping the group’s capabilities and experience in the offshore and marine sector for the development of floating water-cooled data centers,” he added.

Nautilus president and CEO James Connaughton told Data Center Dynamics earlier this year: “In the next twenty years, every new data center is going to be water cooled. Twenty years from now, there will not be air cooled data centers, because water is a much more efficient heat transfer agent.

“Air cooling will be the niche application of the future, water will be ubiquitous. And we know this because that’s what’s happening in every other sector.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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