Next Generation Recycling-Oriented Organic Agriculture in the Same Site at a Data Center
Data centers that support data communications such as the Internet operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Because IT equipment such as servers, storage devices, and network equipment is always running, the heat generated by this equipment is considerable. This heat is a natural enemy of the data center because it causes mechanical failure; however, efforts have begun to grow plants and fish.
Data Dock Co., Ltd., which has developed a “cold data center” that uses snow and outside air for efficient cooling, has constructed the Aquaponix Nagaoka Plant factory on the same site as the Niigata Nagaoka Data Center in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture. This cold region data center is working in cooperation with Plant Form Co., Ltd. on a joint venture including hydroponic cultivation (farming that uses water instead of soil) and aquaculture (fish culture) to create a next-generation, recycling-oriented organic agriculture “aquaponic farm.” At the farm, lettuce, strawberries, and wasabi are grown hydroponically, and at the same time, sturgeons are farmed for caviar production. The idea is to use sturgeon excrement as a source of nutrients to grow organic vegetables in a sustainable manner. Compared to conventional soil cultivation, the period of cultivation is ½, productivity is 2.6 times that of a plant factory that cultivates liquid fertilizer, the initial cost is ¼, and the running cost is 10% that of an LED plant factory. Furthermore, profitability is high. Both companies have been touring the facility since September and are aiming to expand aquaponic farming by selling the system externally.
The company will start shipping and selling the products to restaurants in Nagaoka in the autumn. By operating the Niigata Nagaoka Data Center and the Aquaponix Nagaoka Plant, we plan to establish a business model that is adaptable to the cold climate throughout Japan by accumulating knowledge through verification and research as a model case for a “sustainable data center”.