Pannelli fotovoltaici

Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone

70 million billion calculations a second, done with minimal environmental impact.

The technology

The Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone, in the province of Pavia, hosts Eni's central processing systems, both IT for management and Oil & Gas applications. It is home to HPC4, installed in 2018, and its upgrade, HPC5: one of the most powerful and efficient supercomputers in the world. In June 2020 it entered the TOP500 ranking as the sixth most powerful supercomputer in the world and the first in Europe. In June 2022, it proves to be the most powerful industrial supercomputer in the world. Also in June 2020, it entered the GREEN500 special list, earning the same position as the sixth most energy-efficient supercomputer in the world, first in Europe and first overall among all industrial computing systems, a position it retains in June 2022. If we disregard experimental computers by considering only supercomputing systems with more than 500,000 computing cores, HPC5 ranked as the world's second most energy-efficient computer in 2020 and still occupies fifth place in June 2022. In terms of size, concentration, transport, thermal disposal and overall efficiency, the center presents some of the most complicated problems in energy management. Our Green Data Center was set up with a view to total reliability when responding to the IT demands of the company, with efficiency in green energy. Ever since it opened in 2013, its results have been of world-beating excellence. This is why no changes have needed to be made to its infrastructure in the last seven years, and the GDC can easily house both HPC4 and HPC5 without any adaptations. Due to the overall design of the buildings and facilities, in 2020 its P.U.E. (Power Usage Effectiveness, the ratio of the total amount of energy used to the electricity used by individual IT devices) was 1.162, compared to a world average of 1.620: in other words, the Green Data Center needs less electricity than its competitors to run its computers. These results are even more significant considering that every installation at G.D.C. is TIER IV classified, in other words capable of guaranteeing maximum operational continuity.


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The challenge of sustainability

The constant rise of the center's calculating power meant ever more sophisticated and careful management of its impact and of the technologies needed to reduce its impact. Around the world, the environmental impact of data centers is becoming a more and more important issue. In line with Eni's unwavering commitment to sustainability, our supercomputer has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, using energy produced by the solar plant at the Green Data Center in order to reduce emissions and running costs. A photovoltaic system was installed to power Eni’s Green Data Center as a way of using the Group's industrial land with the aim of producing renewable energy for use at Eni’s own industrial sites. The GDC contributes to a sustainable model by minimising the impact of calculation and research activities, as well as making a major contribution to finding new solutions for tomorrow's energies. The Green Data Center's supercomputers made it possible to develop the ISWEC system, which uses wave energy. Using advanced mathematical models, the computing power at the Green Data Center enables us combine information on weather and sea conditions with information about the Energy Cradle’s behaviour and design different models based on specific local conditions. HPC4 and HPC5 also run original programmes for magnetic confinement fusion research: the development of superconducting magnets in the joint Eni-CNR research centre in Gela and the study of plasmas in the research centre in San Donato Milanese. These computational tools are also used to produce theoretical models of the molecules and photoactive polymers that are at the heart of our solar energy capture technologies: the OPV organic solar panels and LSC luminescent solar concentrators.

Finally, in mid-November 2020, HPC5 made it possible to carry out the most complex molecular supercomputing experiment ever, to identify new therapies to treat the Covid-19 virus.

The Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone is therefore one of the driving forces of European innovation and research, fundamental for identifying the energy of the future, speeding up the energy transition process and implementing processes related to exploration and new renewable sources.

Eco-friendly design

The Green Data Centre's infrastructure is defined at every level by an eco-friendly design that consumes about half of the energy a traditional system of the kind would, and significantly reduce CO2 emissions. In total, the GDC saved 5,997 tons of CO₂  in 2020 (Source: ENEA: 352.4g CO₂/Kwh). Of this, 5,540 tons were saved as a result of its increased efficiency and 457 tons thanks to the photovoltaic plant that it is connected to. In addition to the nearby Enipower thermoelectric power plant, the centre is  powered by a 1 MWp photovoltaic park .The energy produced by the 2,968 photovoltaic panels, spread across 106 cables, is consumed exclusively on site and is meant to partially compensate for the electricity consumption of the supercomputer.

The environmental efficiency of the Green Data Centre is strengthened by the special cooling system that regulates temperature, and is run 98% of the time with external air, from which 3,000 kg of dust is filtered out every year. Traditional data centres, on the other hand, use uninterrupted air-conditioning and forced ventilation systems.