The main purpose of the lab is to test the impact of blockchain technologies as regards their energy consumption and infrastructure cooling.
The cryptocurrency lab will be housed in a 1500 m² ITB2 Data Center’s Apeldoorn location, which opened in 2013 and has a power usage effectiveness (PUE) value of 1.08, according to Emerce report – PUE being a ratio measuring the efficiency of a computer data center’s use of energy.
According to data from the European Commission EU Science Hub, the range of average PUE for European data centers is between 1.6-1.8, putting ITB2 well above the average in terms of efficiency.
Niels Hensen, director and owner of ITB2 Data Center, said that they chose to test crypto because it is “the most well-known and now widespread application of blockchain at the moment,” as well as the reason that the money earned by crypto mining helps offset the costs of running the lab:
“In order to remain innovative in the area of data center technology, however, you must always keep looking at new technological developments. For our current and future customers we would therefore like to know what the use of blockchain technology means for the data center infrastructure.”
The ITB2 Data Center uses indirect adiabatic cooling to reduce energy consumption, and offers high density colocation to customers like Sandd, Reesnik Support, and financial service providers. Hensen notes that, “both new and existing customers, certainly financial service providers, will all have to deal with blockchain in the near future,” mentioning IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and Google’s current work on blockchain tech.
The effect of crypto mining on the environment is seen as inevitable by some, and contested by others.
In mid-May, an article from economist Alex de Vries reported that Bitcoin mining is set to use 0.5 percent of the world’s energy by the end of 2018, noting that second layer solutions like the Lightning Network may help alleviate the problem. In Iceland, energy consumption from mining will equal more than the amount of energy use in households this year.