First UK Data Centre to Transition from Diesel to Renewable HVO Fuel

Kao Data, the specialist developer and operator of advanced, carrier neutral data centres for high performance colocation, has announced it has taken a further step towards its Net Zero ambitions by becoming the UK’s first data centre to transition all backup generators at its Harlow campus to HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) fuel. This pioneering move, made possible by partnering with Crown Oil, means Kao Data will eliminate up to 90% of net CO2 from their backup generators and significantly reduce nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide emissions.

Currently Kao Data delivers one of the UK’s most sustainable colocation data centre campuses. Its existing initiatives include using 100% renewable energy, utilising 100% refrigerant-free indirect evaporative cooling technologies, and incorporating hyperscale inspired design to deliver a market-leading PUE of <1.2, even at partial loads. In line with its commitments as a signatory of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact (CNDCP), the use of Crown Oil HVO fuel marks another significant step in the company’s plans to become a fully carbon neutral data centre operator by 2030.

HVO is one of the cleanest fuels on the market, and is a second-generation, advanced renewable diesel alternative. Synthesised from vegetable oils using a specialist hydro treatment process, HVO has been designed to combat the performance inadequacies of earlier biofuels. It offers improved burning efficiency, delivering the same level of resilience as traditional fossil fuels. Kao Data will replace an initial 45,000 litres of diesel and switch to an HVO provision of more than 750,000 litres when the campus is fully developed. Using HVO also offers several additional benefits in respect of infrastructure reliability. It eliminates microbial growth, which generates sludge that can contaminate fuel lines and potentially lead to engine shut down.

Furthermore, HVO requires no modification to existing infrastructure and can be used as a direct replacement for diesel. It has a storage life that is ten times that of standard diesel and offers resilient year-round performance in both low and high temperatures. It is also easier to maintain, free from aromatics, sulphur, and metals, odourless and completely biodegradable.

“HVO fuel is dramatically better for the environment compared to traditional, mineral diesels. It is 100% renewable, biodegradable, sustainable and non-toxic,” said Simon Lawford, Technical Sales Manager, Crown Oil. “We’re proud to have worked with Kao Data to initiate a first-of-its kind project, which will be transformative for the data centre industry, and help point the way forward for significant reductions in industrial greenhouse gas emissions.”

“This pioneering approach to replace our generator’s diesel provision with HVO fuel, is a key step in the company’s efforts to become Net Zero, and a further demonstration of our leadership in the international data centre sustainability field,” said Gérard Thibault, Chief Technology Officer at Kao Data. “This move effectively eliminates fossil fuels from our data centre operations and helps us reduce Scope 3 emissions in our customers’ supply chain, while delivering no degradation to the service they receive. Most importantly, it shows how our industry can take a simple and highly beneficial step forward for the good of the environment, ahead of COP26.”


One of the largest campus developments in the UK

Founded in 2014, Kao Data develop and operate advanced data centres for high performance colocation. From their hyperscale inspired campus in the heart of the UK Innovation Corridor between London and Cambridge – Kao Data provides cloud, HPC, AI and enterprise customers with a world-class home for their compute.

Their Harlow campus – built on the site of Sir Charles Kao’s pioneering discovery of fibre optic cable in 1966 – is a development of four state-of the-art, OCP-Ready™, carrier neutral data centres. When fully completed the 15 acre, +£230m campus will support an ITE load of over 40MW, across 150,000sq ft of technical space – all powered by 100% renewable energy.

Backed by Legal & General and Goldacre – Noé Group, Kao Data is one of the largest campus developments in the UK and represents the future in sustainable, efficient, and scalable computing – providing an industry blueprint to develop further best-in-class data centres.


Crown HVO fuel – Reducing up to 90% of net CO2 emissions

Global warming is everyone’s business. But what can businesses do to help? We all have a responsibility to reduce our local emissions – and Crown HVO fuel is invaluable in doing so.

Simply switch your fossil fuel for Crown HVO and you will reduce your net CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% right away.

Crown HVO fuel offers a fast and simple step towards ‘net zero’ rather than the leap needed for electrification. With a large number of OEM approvals, HVO can be used without changes to infrastructure or capital expenditure, removing cost barriers and enabling a practical step towards decarbonisation.

For every 1,000 litres of diesel burned, you will produce 3.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas CO2, compared to just 195kg GHG CO2 for every 1,000 litres of HVO burned.


Why use HVO fuel?

  • Up to 90% reduction in net CO2 greenhouse emissions: significantly better for the environment than regular diesel or biodiesel
  • Renewable, sustainable and 100% biodegradable: synthesised from waste fats and vegetable oils
  • Reduces notifiable particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions: improved air quality
  • Drop-in replacement for regular diesel & gas oil: meets EN15940 standard for paraffinic fuels and Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II. A wide range of OEM approvals means it can often be used without needing engine and machinery modification
  • Excellent cold-weather performance: higher cetane number (up to 90) and low cloud point (-32OC) provides better starting performance, clean combustion, and less chance of waxing in extreme temperatures
  • High flashpoint: improved safety, storage and handling compared to regular diesel
  • Reduced need for regular testing: impurities are removed during the production process, eliminating the key factors for fuel degradation, and increasing shelf life to around 10 years


What is HVO fuel?

Crown HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) is a premium, high quality diesel fuel made from renewable, sustainable raw materials – all which do not release any new CO2 into the atmosphere.

HVO is part of the paraffinic family of fuels which are stable, renewable, sustainable, and high quality, making it perfectly suited for a wide range of applications including vehicles, generators, and industrial power systems.

HVO meets EN 15940 standards and Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II so can be used as a direct, drop-in alternative to mineral diesel without modifications to infrastructure or high initial investments. Simply place an order of Crown HVO fuel today and start reducing your CO2 emissions right away.

The feedstocks used to manufacture Crown HVO are 100% waste, drawn from primary sources which have bypassed damage to the environment, natural ecosystem, and the drive for global deforestation. All raw materials are checked and verified, and the fuel’s credentials audited by the Department for Transport (DFT) to ensure both sustainability and product integrity are certified.

HVO meets bio content requirements with no FAME included and, to that point, avoids the instability and operability issues seen by many low blend diesel fuels and high blend biofuels.

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