NUS launches world's first tropical climate data centre testbed
Photo courtesy of NUS

NUS launches world’s first tropical climate data centre testbed

The National University of Singapore’s College of Design and Engineering (NUS CDE) has announced the launch of the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT), a pioneering initiative and the first of its kind for tropical environments. This significant development in data centre innovation is a collaborative effort led by NUS and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), and is funded by the National Research Foundation as part of Singapore's Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 plan.

The STDCT aims to bridge the gap between research and practical applications by bringing together academia and industry partners. This collaboration is set to fast-track the adoption of innovative and sustainable data centre cooling solutions tailored for the tropical climate, setting new sustainability standards for data centre operations in such environments.

The testbed was officially launched by Alvin Tan, Singapore’ minister of State for Trade and Industry, who emphasised its importance in supporting Singapore’s cutting-edge research on data centre innovation. He highlighted that the facility would be instrumental in growing sustainable data centres aligned with Singapore's climate change commitments.

Data centres, crucial to the digital economy, are known for their high-energy consumption, particularly in hot and humid climates like Singapore. About 40% of a data centre's energy usage is typically dedicated to cooling and ventilation systems. The STDCT focuses on pioneering efficient cooling technologies essential for reducing operational costs and minimising environmental impact.

Ni De En, director of Urban Solutions & Sustainability at the National Research Foundation, remarked on the testbed's role in driving innovations in cooling technologies to improve the sustainability of data centres in the region. 

Professor Liu Bin, NUS deputy president (Research and Technology), expressed excitement about hosting the STDCT at NUS. He noted that this initiative aligns with Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 and underscores the nation's commitment to sustainability. The programme, jointly led by NUS and NTU, fosters an ecosystem for innovative cooling ideas, accelerating the creation and translation of DC cooling technologies suitable for tropical urban settings.

Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU vice president (Industry), described the commissioning of the STDCT as a pivotal moment in the evolution of data centre operations in tropical climates. He emphasised that the testbed reflects NTU's commitment to environmental mitigation, aligning with NTU 2025 strategic plan, and sets a new global standard for data centre infrastructure.