University of Delaware to Add Data Center to Campus

University of Delaware officials are planning to construct a data center and power plant on the institution’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) campus.

According to NBC, the data center design would include a 900,000 square foot plant built on a 272-acre site. Delaware Online also stated the facility will include an energy hub to generate the required power for guaranteed 100 percent uptime. Startup company The Data Centers LLC signed a lease with the university, and is working with them on the project to build the Wolf Technology Center 1 facility, to be used to store and manage university data.

The facility will be constructed on land purchased by the University, which used to be occupied by the Chrysler Assembly Plant. During the two and a half year building period, Delaware Online stated that 5,000 new construction jobs will be created.

Furthermore, once finished, the data center will provide 600 positions, including 290 full-time employees receiving an average salary of $63,000 annually as well as 50 part-timers. An additional 30 positions would be created within the proposed power plant to be built next to the data center. TDC’s website also stated that another 90 positions would be filled by employees from the facility’s tenants, vendors, consultants and others.

Delaware Online reported that the unemployment rate in the area is around 7.3 percent, and any initiative to bring more jobs to the area is beneficial for both sides.

Running off grid
The data center finance plan includes around $1 billion in spending to facilitate the installation of best-of-breed technologies and least environmental impact possible, and the data center layout will include something previously unseen in a large facility of this kind.

TDC and the university are planning to construct a 248 megawatt power plant within the campus to provide electricity for the facility and allow it to run “off grid,” according to Delaware Online. By running off grid, the facility will be resistant to power outages or other electrical issues related to the local infrastructure.

A data center with its own power plant is a new concept within a large facility of this kind. TDC representatives told Delaware Online that this plan is an innovative new technique in the data center industry. Supporters of the power plant stated that it will be more environmentally friendly than the former Chrysler factory. The data center will operate on natural gas to comply with state pollution regulations, and will also utilize waste heat for less environmental impact.

Bruce Myatt, The Data Centers’ CTO, said the facility will create long-term gas contracts that will reduce operating costs, according to TDC website.

“The patent-pending design combines best-in-class data center energy efficiencies with the efficiencies of on-site cogeneration and tri-generation plants that can operate as an island without relying on the electrical grid as backup,” Myatt said.

The company’s website stated the data center will be open for operations in late 2014, and three tenants have already reserved space.

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